Wiesn boss reacts indignantly: Lauterbach: Oktoberfest plans “boldness” because of variants

Wiesn boss reacts with outrage
Lauterbach: Oktoberfest provides for “boldness” because of variants

The pandemic is not over yet, emphasizes Health Minister Lauterbach. It warns of outbreaks of the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants in the fall. He therefore considers the Oktoberfest plans to be “bold”. With another corona vaccine, Germany should be protected against an autumn wave.

The incidence in Germany is still around 400 – but after two years of the mandatory Corona break, the Oktoberfest in Munich is due to take place again this fall for the first time. From Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach’s perspective, however, it was “bold” to say the festival could go ahead as it always has, he told Bayerischer Rundfunk. The SPD politician warned that there is some likelihood that the Omikron BA.4 and BA.5 variants will be dealt with by then.

If there were new outbreaks of the variants, he could imagine that a completely unprotected Oktoberfest would again be problematic, Lauterbach says. However, at this stage it is not possible to decide on a clear acceptance or rejection or rules for Oktoberfest. The Lord Mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, announced at the end of April that there should be no corona restrictions at the festival on the Theresienwiese.

Criticism of Lauterbach’s warning comes from Wiesn boss Clemens Baumgärtner. To stand up first and declare the pandemic situation over and “to say now that something could happen in the fall, I find irresponsible. That’s not correct,” Baumgärtner said on radio station Gong 96.3. “Of course it’s populist and popular when you as health minister start talking about Oktoberfest.” However, there is also the flu in the fall and it presents itself every year in a new variant – Lauterbach never said anything about this, according to Baumgärtner.

“You have to be ready for all eventualities”

In order to cover possible virus variants more broadly in the fall, Lauterbach has meanwhile announced that the Federal Government wants to order additional corona vaccines. “We have to be ready for all eventualities,” he said. A strategy adopted by the Federal Cabinet provides for an additional 830 million euros to procure a preparation announced by the manufacturer Moderna, which is working in different variants at the same time.

The pandemic is not over and vaccines are needed, Lauterbach stressed. “But we don’t know which variants will confront us in the fall.” Sufficient vaccine is available through contracts with the former government, which works against the original variant, including the delta variant. A second vaccine from Biontech, purely adapted to the Omicron variant, has also been ordered. Additionally, a preparation prepared by Moderna that works on both virus types should now be purchased. Lauterbach pointed out that a lesson learned from the pandemic is to never have too few vaccines again.

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