Berlin. Pediatricians have called on the coalition to make changes to the planned new Infection Protection Act (IfSG). “As a professional association, we are very concerned about the effects of the planned corona measures for autumn and winter on children and young people,” says the chairman of the Professional Association of Pediatricians (BVKJ), Dr. Thomas Fischbach.
Most of the safeguards contained in the IfSG will soon expire. The coalition has therefore presented a concept for new initiatives from 1 October. The concept must be decided by the Bundestag on Thursday (September 8). The State Chamber must also agree.
The traffic lights fight for the Corona schedule
The government’s plans include mask and testing requirements for hospitals and nursing homes, as well as a controversial FFP2 mask requirement on long-distance trains or planes. The plans also affect everyday life in day care centers and schools.
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) and Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) had ruled out school closures. The paediatricians nevertheless express significant concerns about the corona plans.
Fischbach classified the planned expansion of a catalog of diseases under Section 34 IfSG as “particularly worrying”. In addition to measles, mumps, plague, cholera and other infectious diseases, this catalog should also show COVID-19 in the future. At first glance, the matter seems harmless. On closer inspection, however, the planned regulation would be “in itself”.
Access only with a doctor’s note
If it is suspected that a child has COVID-19, they should not be allowed to come to school or daycare until the parents present a medical certificate ruling out corona. “What constitutes a presumed case is not regulated. This means that a child may not be able to go to daycare or school, even in the case of a banal but suspicious cold, until Corona is ruled out.”
If a child has had COVID-19 and a negative antigen test confirms that the disease has been overcome, this should no longer be sufficient under the traffic light plans. “The child can then no longer go to school or kindergarten, but will need further medical confirmation for this in the future,” says Fischbach.
“Condition requiring your intervention”
Such an “extreme tightening of the legal situation” after 30 months of pandemic could not be seriously desired by either party, emphasized the pediatrician from Solingen. The BVKJ wrote to the members of the health committee asking them to “intervene”.
Bavarian Health Minister Klaus Holetschek also took part in the debate. A negative rapid test must be enough for children and young people to return to childcare or school, the CSU politician said at the weekend. “Otherwise, this unnecessary austerity could lead to chaos.”
Holetschek: Chaos is imminent
The fire letter from the paediatricians shows how serious the situation is, says Holetschek. However, he had already heard the first signals that the federal government wanted to tighten the wording. From the ranks of the pediatricians, it was also said that the traffic light wanted to adjust its plans at least partially.
The virologist from Hamburg, Professor Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit, also reacted with outrage. The certification plans are “scandalous”, he wrote via “Twitter”. “What do we do with our children and young people?”
Problem now “cured”?
The online news service “Tagesspiegel Background” reports in the meantime – also via “Twitter” – that the health policy spokesman for the Green parliamentary group, Janosch Dahmen, has stated that the point that the paediatricians have criticized has now been “healed”.
COVID-19 should continue to be included in section 34 of the Infection Protection Act. However, it should be possible to rule out suspicion of an infection through tests. (him)