With the increase in the number of corona infections in Alsace, the question arises how Germany and France can work together to combat the pandemic in the autumn. Both Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) and his French counterpart Olivier Véran did not rule out the possibility of people from France being tested on the other side of the Rhine in a poll by the German-French Parliamentary Assembly on Tuesday.
According to a study by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Alsace is one of the regions in France where 60 to 119 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants are registered within two weeks. The south and north-east of France are even more affected.
The neighboring country is currently more affected by the pandemic than Germany, where the number of infections is also on the rise. According to the establishment of the ECDC, the average threshold of 59 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants is not exceeded within 14 days.
At the start of the pandemic, the borders between Germany and France were closed in March. The crossings were not reopened to the general public until mid-June. According to the words of Andreas Jung CDU), the co-chair of the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly, a large majority in the committee of deputies was of the opinion that the borders should not be closed again.
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Véran explained that the testing capabilities in France and Germany are now aligned. More than 1.2 million corona tests are now performed per week in France. Given these figures, tests for French in Germany are possible, but no longer absolutely necessary, Véran said. However, a debate has broken out in France about the tests. It has been criticized that the results take up to a week.
In Germany currently up to 1.4 million tests per week
According to Spahn, up to 1.4 million corona tests per week are currently being performed in Germany. Spahn announced that in Germany the PCR tests with smears that have to be sent to the laboratory will be increasingly supplemented with rapid antigen tests from October. The rapid tests are not yet as reliable as the PCR tests. However, it makes sense to use them for the tests on returning travelers and hospital nurses, Spahn said.
The German head of department expressed reticence about a possible transfer of powers in health policy to the EU level. It is true that the EU must also acquire greater sovereignty in health policy worldwide. The creation of new responsibilities in the field of health policy in Brussels should only take place where this also provides added value, Spahn asked.
Stricter requirements now also apply in Lyon
In France, stricter measures have recently been imposed in Lyon due to the increasing number of infections. Accordingly, mass events in France’s third largest city should be limited to 1000 people. Previously, the threshold was 5000 people. There is also a recommendation to limit meetings with family or friends to ten people. The opening hours of bars and restaurants may not change for the time being.
93 patients in intensive care units in Marseille
In the meantime, the situation in Marseille, where the number of infections has soared, is worrying. In the Mediterranean metropolis, intensive care units of hospitals are again filling up with Covid-19 patients. On Monday, 93 corona patients were treated in the intensive care units of the Marseille hospitals.