BERLIN (AP) — Authorities in Germany should prepare for several possible pandemic scenarios this fall that would likely strain the country’s health system and critical infrastructure, an expert panel said Wednesday.
The government-appointed panel said the country continues to have immunity gaps in the population, and it recommended promoting vaccines against the coronavirus and making them more easily available.
The panel advised authorities to ensure that testing facilities can be scaled up quickly in the fall and also said COVID-19 patients also should get earlier access to antiviral drugs.
The experts urged the German government to provide a clear legal foundation for any public health restrictions it might decide to put in place, especially if a dangerous new variant emerges.
They also recommended developing a “fundamental strategy” for dealing with infection-related disruptions to schools. The experts noted chaotic efforts to keep students learning despite school closures during the early stages of the pandemic.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said last week that the government would try to avoid closing schools and child care facilities if there were another surge in COVID-19 cases.
Germany on Wednesday reported 84,655 new daily cases and 145 virus deaths.