Experts urge German government to prepare for fall COVID surge

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks with members of the Foreign Press Association, VAP, at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, June 8, 2022.Markus Schreiber/AP

BERLIN (AP) — German authorities should prepare for several possible pandemic scenarios this fall that would likely strain the country’s health care system and critical infrastructure, a group of experts said Wednesday.

The government-appointed panel said the country continues to have immunity gaps in the population, and it recommended promoting coronavirus vaccines and making them more readily available.

The panel advised authorities to ensure testing facilities can be expanded quickly in the fall and also said COVID-19 patients should also have faster access to antiviral drugs.

Experts have urged the German government to provide a clear legal basis for any public health restrictions it may decide to put in place, particularly if a dangerous new variant emerges.

They also recommended developing a “fundamental strategy” to deal with infection-related disruption in schools. Experts have noted chaotic efforts to continue learning despite school closures at the start of the pandemic.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said last week that the government would try to avoid closing schools and daycare centers if there was a further rise in COVID-19 cases.

Germany reported 84,655 daily new cases and 145 virus deaths on Wednesday.

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