1. Preventing transmission
The section on PREVENTING TRANSMISSION includes information on key public health measures that aim to prevent the further spread of the disease. It details how countries are advising the general public and people who (might) have the disease to prevent further spread, as well as measures in place to test and identify cases, trace contacts, and monitor the scale of the outbreak.
1.1 Health communication
On May 8, the RKI announced that the regular press briefings on the Corona pandemic will be discontinued. The press briefings which were hold daily and later twice a week had become an important source of information for the wider public to understand the current situation and the monitoring of the pandemic. With its decision to discontinue the press briefings first, the RKI set an important sign that Germany has entered a phase of transition as infection rates had decreased for a long time. However, the RKI stressed that press inquiries would be answered at any time and that briefings would be offered as the occasion demands. The RKI continues to provide information on cases, the spread of the virus within the population, local outbreaks and hospital and ICU bed occupancy rates among others in the daily situation reports, available in English and German:
In early February (07 February) the government released official recommendations regarding hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and physical distancing when sneezing and coughing. An explanatory video was published by the Ministry of Health and the Federal Centre for Health Education and spread on social media. On 17 February, specific recommendations on hygiene, respiratory etiquette during carnival season were published and released by the Federal Centre for Health Education. In a press conference on 2 March 2020 recommendations on hand hygiene, physical distancing and respiratory etiquette were communicated to the wider public.
Information on outbreak severity is regularly communicated in daily press briefings held by the Robert Koch-Institute (RKI). The RKI is the government’s central scientific institution in the field of communicable diseases. Its main tasks are the identification, surveillance and prevention of diseases, especially infectious diseases and informing and advising political decision-makers, the scientific sector and the general public based on scientific evidence. It is continuously monitoring the situation, evaluating all available information, estimating the risk for the population in Germany. The Ministry of Health and the Federal Centre for Health Education also communicate information regularly through press briefings, via social media and on their websites. The federal government also set up a special website on COVID-19 (https://www.zusammengegencorona.de/) which provides information for specific population groups, recommendations regarding prevention, detection, treatment, support and care, physical distancing etc.