Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) was self-confident on Monday. “We are testing at the border for all of Germany,” emphasized Söder at a press conference. His tenor: Other federal states should also follow the example of the government in Munich and provide corona test centers on motorways free of charge to those returning from vacation.
On Wednesday evening, however, the fiasco was already perfect. The Bavarian state government had to announce: More than 44,000 people tested have still not been informed of their results. Even 900 people infected with the virus do not yet know anything about their findings. In the worst case, they could have infected many more people.
The Corona model state of Bavaria threatens to become the hub of the virus. The repeatedly highly praised Söders crisis management becomes a problem case. It almost seems: The CSU boss wanted too much – and took over. With hardly foreseeable consequences. With every day that the identification of those who tested positive was delayed, doubts have grown as to whether and how the spread of the coronavirus can still be contained.
Tough use without preparation
On August 1st, helpers from the Red Cross will be at the Hochfelln Nord service station on the A8 and the Donautal service station. Many of them have worked night shifts. Because only 18 hours before they find out what the Bavarian state government is planning to do with themt: In a drive-in manner, corona tests are to be taken from holidaymakers, their data recorded and the samples sent to laboratories. The aid organization documents its efforts on social media.
Private service providers should actually take over these tasks by August 3rd at the latest. But the “Southgerman newspaper” reported that potential candidates could not have provided enough employees at the time in question. The Eurofins analysis laboratory involved, among others, will not take over until this Thursday – almost two weeks after the start of the tests. When asked by the company, it was said that work had been started “successively after the shortest possible preparation time”.
Previously, helpers are responsible, some of whom are rounded up head over heels. One of them later told WELT that he had only found out about the spontaneous deployment at the Donautal rest area six hours beforehand. His shift in the blazing sun lasts twelve hours. More than 250 tests per hour are performed in particularly busy hours.
Söder later speaks of the “provisional aid organization”. It is a makeshift solution that apparently leads to errors. Because the helpers fill out many forms by hand, some of them apparently with pencil. Problems with the manual transmission of this data contributed significantly to the delays, according to Andreas Zapf, who has since been transferred to the President of the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety. Some forms were also incomplete or difficult to read. There was a chaos of notes.
Red Cross requested digital equipment
The Red Cross had apparently asked the State Office for Health at an early stage for the necessary technical infrastructure. “With an end device, a barcode scanner, we could have easily assigned the data sets to the samples – with a very low error rate,” said spokesman Sohrab Taheri-Sohi daily News.
The Red Cross is even forced to defend itself after days of hardship. One rejects allegations or allusions, “which suggest that the aid organizations are (partially) to blame for this problem,” the organization said. It is regrettable that “the extremely short-term and sweaty work of the volunteers of all Bavarian aid organizations is put in a negative light”.
Health Minister Melanie Huml (CSU) takes on responsibility. She twice offered Söder her resignation. But he held on to Huml.
Tests now digital – the group of infected people is likely to increase
How are the authorities supposed to get the situation under control? There is no quarantine requirement for holidaymakers coming from EU countries. In the past few weeks it was up to these people to decide whether they had been socially isolated before receiving their test results. If you apply the currently valid number of reproductions of around 1 according to the Robert Koch Institute for Germany, according to which each infected person infects around one other person with corona on average, the number of cases by the holidaymakers arriving could multiply within a few weeks.
The epidemiologist Friedemann Weber warns in “Focus“Before an impending” exponential increase “. “900, more likely 1000 positive cases that have not found out about their infection for weeks are significant.”
Since Thursday morning, the almost 1000 returnees who have tested positive have been contacted by employees of the health authorities. If you don’t get a result by the weekend, you should do a second test, says Söder. The Greens Bundestag Vice-President Claudia Roth also stated that she was still waiting for her test result from August 2nd. You have therefore had other tests and is not infected.
In the meantime, the company Eurofins reports, everything is finally running digitally on the motorways as well: “Eurofins uses its own digital online registration for data acquisition, which makes it unnecessary to read and record handwritten entries, which is time-consuming and laborious.”
The SPD health expert is calling for a completely different test method. “The PCR tests are not really suitable for mass tests”, Lauterbach said on Thursday WELT. “Mass tests are only possible if they are carried out quickly and cheaply.” The costs are high at 60 euros and the waiting time until the result is long. “It is out of the question that in the future the high test requirements will be covered by PCR tests alone.”