Wieler defends his recommendation of tough corona measures

BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – The head of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, has defended his recommendation of tough corona measures. He said on Wednesday in Berlin in a joint press conference with Health Minister Karl Lauerbach (SPD) that he saw “no contradiction” to a proposal by the Federal Government’s Expert Council, of which he himself is a member. This body merely asked to do something without specifying what. “The RKI is just an institution that then translates that into concrete recommendations.”

The German government’s expert council warned on Sunday of an “explosive” spread of the Omikron variant, but only vaguely called for “well-planned and well-communicated contact restrictions”. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) then demanded much more far-reaching measures on Tuesday, shortly before the Bund-Länder Round, than were later decided by Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the Prime Minister of the Länder, including immediate, “maximum” contact restrictions.

Lauterbach confirmed on Wednesday that he had been surprised by RKI recommendations. “The coordination will still be optimized.” The SPD politician also emphasized: “In my house there is no censorship when it comes to scientific work. That will not happen either.” The RKI is a research institute of the federal government that belongs to the division of the Ministry of Health. Lauterbach is practically Wieler’s boss.

Wieler praised the measures decided by the federal and state governments for the period after Christmas as “very, very good”, despite his much more far-reaching recommendation. “There are stringent measures that will slow down the rate of infection,” he said. But he did not want to say whether he thought the measures were sufficient: “Whether I am satisfied or dissatisfied is completely irrelevant.” / Mfi / DP / nas

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