German health system struggling to trace Covid chains

Berlin: A large proportion of public health departments in Germany have already stopped contact tracing for people infected with Covid-19 due to overload, said Ute Teichert, the federal chairwoman of public health physicians,.

“Comprehensive tracking is almost not happening at all right now,” Teichert told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND), adding that several federal states such as Baden-Wuerttemberg, Berlin and Hamburg “even completely suspended contact searches”, Xinhua news agency reported.

Germany is bracing for a new wave of Covid-19 pandemic, caused by the more infectious Omicron variant, to hit the country.

The Omicron wave could even worsen staff shortages in the country’s healthcare system.

“Because of the Omicron variant, we are running into a situation in Germany where health departments will eventually not be able to compensate for sick staff,” she said.

After introducing stricter health measures, Germany’s Covid-19 incidence rate has been declining for around two weeks and fell to 265.8 infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week, down from around 332 last week, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Friday.

Daily infections also declined and dropped to 35,431 recorded cases within one day, around 15,500 less than one week ago, according to the RKI, the federal government agency for disease control and prevention.

But the RKI warned that it is possible that only an incomplete picture of the epidemiological situation is given.

Lower testing and reporting activity should be expected during the Christmas vacations and until New Year’s Day, the RKI noted.

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