Berlin wants to use a new traffic light system to keep better track of the current status of critical infrastructure, from police and fire departments to clinics, waterworks and gas supplies. "The traffic light is green when there is no impairment," the SPD politician said Friday (Jan. 21, 2022) after a visit to Vivantes Hospital in Friedrichshain. "We no longer have that in any area." The traffic light is on yellow almost everywhere, she said.
New warning light for critical infrastructure already on yellow
Not only the Corona infection figures have risen significantly in Berlin. The new warning lights for the situation at the police, waterworks or gas supply also no longer point to green.
Traffic lights are no longer green in any area
"We are now at about a 15 percent non-availability of staff"
One area, the state Office for Refugee Affairs, is already on red, Giffey said. The warning color stands for significant or critical impairments, she said. However, she said, that is not yet the case throughout Berlin. "We look at the numbers every day. We are now at about a 15 percent non-availability of staff." That is still manageable, Giffey said. A shortfall of between 20 and 30 percent can be handled, she said. "That means we are preparing for those numbers," the governing mayor said. If there is indeed a failure rate of more than 20 or 30 percent, there will be restrictions on services and offerings, she said. "Then the train, the bus, will just no longer run every three or two minutes, but at greater intervals. But it's important that we ensure the general provision of public services."
Over 50 percent of Berliners have received booster vaccination
Giffey rated the vaccination rate among employees in the critical infrastructure as positive. She said it was well above average. In Berlin, 76.4 percent of people have received an initial vaccination. The goal is 80 percent by the end of the month. In the case of boosters, the preliminary target has already been reached, as Giffey announced: "More than half of Berliners have a booster vaccination," she said. The rate is 50.1 percent, just above the target set by the Senate by the end of January.
Staff shortages on all wards
Giffey visited Vivantes Hospital and the Caritas Maria Heimsuchung Clinic in Pankow on Friday to get a picture of everyday hospital life during the Corona pandemic, she said. One topic on all wards was staff absences, she said. Reasons for this were not only illnesses or quarantine of employees, but also, for example, problems with childcare after Corona cases in the daycare center or at school.
Intensive care unit occupancy rate of 16.5 percent
The Senate's goal, she said, is to maintain as much public life as possible. A categorical lockdown should not be the answer, she added. "That simply doesn't do justice to the situation we're in now," Giffey said. "We have an intensive care unit occupancy rate of 16.5 percent. That's within a reasonable range. And we know how important it is to maintain care for the population."
Test strategy topic at federal-state meeting on Monday
She expects clear agreements from the federal-state meeting on Monday (Jan. 24, 2022). "The way I see it, we're going to talk in the prime ministers' conference first and foremost about how we get focused contact tracing done, especially targeting vulnerable groups," she said. "And how we manage to make the testing regime clearer, so that the testing of those who have recovered from an infection is done with the rapid antigen tests."
Reliable rapid tests to replace PCR tests in certain cases
This is a very important point, said the SPD politician against the background of the significantly increased infection figures. "And that's where I hope the Federal Minister of Health will now clearly state in the test regulation which rapid antigen tests are so reliable that they are in principle on a par." The goal is to be able to maintain testing capacities and use PCR tests where it is really necessary, for example, in care facilities and in hospitals, Giffey said. "And to work with reliable rapid tests in the other areas."