Contact tracing helped Germany control the pandemic


Germany’s contact tracing system is thought to have been critical in controlling the COVID-19 outbreak, especially given superspreader events such as infections in meat packing plants. Each of Germany’s 16 federal states is responsible for health, and together with the national Robert Koch Institute they support authorities at city or council level, who are responsible for outbreak investigation and management, including contact tracing.

The country dubbed COVID-19 a notifiable disease early, on February 1, and in April, as the country was locking down, provided additional investment in local public health authorities, which added capacity to their existing infrastructure and expertise. The extended capacity became the underpinnings of May’s reopening. The flexibility of local control combined with central coordination and support appears to have been more effective than the more wholly centralised and privatised approach of other countries such as the UK.

Writer: Ralf Reintjes
Publication: British Medical Journal
Publication date: 2020-06-25

Related learning resources