Return travelers at Cape Town Airport
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According to the RKI, four cases of the Omikron variant have so far been confirmed by genome sequencing in Germany.
This is what the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) wrote in its weekly report on Thursday evening.
These four cases are returnees from South Africa.
The country had informed about the variant in the middle of last week.
The four people were all vaccinated, none of them had to go to hospital for treatment, as the RKI announced.
All of them showed only mild symptoms.
According to the RKI, the information relates to advance information that was transmitted by Wednesday (December 1).
In eight other cases in Germany there is a suspicion of omicrons, these are currently being checked by genome sequencing - i.e. reading out the virus genome.
However, experts assume an occurrence that already goes beyond this.
The EU health authority ECDC sees signs that the Omikron variant could be the dominant type in Europe in just a few months.
Due to the tense situation in the corona laboratories, the RKI also recommends cautious use of PCR tests.
»In some regions laboratories are at the limits of their capacity utilization.
This is why it is currently necessary to prioritize the use of PCR tests in accordance with the national test strategy, «writes the RKI.
For example, PCR tests should be "critically examined under the aspect of the regionally available PCR capacities".
There are fears that overloaded laboratories will not be able to report infections promptly and that this will distort the official statistics.
In addition, experts assume that some health authorities are currently unable to report evidence due to the many corona cases.
PCR tests, which are necessary for reliable detection of an infection, should, for example, only be used to a limited extent to shorten the quarantine and isolation times for contact persons and infected people.
"For deprioritized occasions (according to the test strategy), high-quality antigen rapid tests should be used if there is a necessary indication." Such rapid tests can be evaluated on site and do not require a laboratory.
Difficult to classify current numbers
Due to the test situation, it is difficult for the RKI to assess the most recently decreased corona numbers.
"The sharp rise in the seven-day incidence in recent weeks has not continued in the past week," says the weekly report.
This could "on the one hand be a first indication of a slightly weakening dynamic in the transmission process due to the significantly intensified measures to reduce contact".
However, the development could »regionally also be due to the increasingly overloaded capacities in the public health service and the exhausted laboratory capacities«.
The seven-day incidence indicates how many infections are reported per 100,000 population per week.
It had last decreased for three consecutive days, from 452.4 on Monday to 439.2 on Thursday.
Especially for people aged 80 and over, the number of hospital admissions has recently risen rapidly, from eight cases per 100,000 inhabitants per week at the end of September to 43 cases in mid-November.
In the fight against the fourth corona wave, the federal and state governments decided on Thursday a series of measures with consequences for millions of citizens.
Unvaccinated people are denied entry to most shops during the Christmas season.
Pharmacies and nurses should also be able to take over vaccinations
jok / dpa