However, these three goals are in conflict – given both the current COVID-19 test capacities and the outpatient treatment capacities. In the past it was possible for children to attend daycare and school even with mild cold symptoms. Now, the corresponding capacities in the health care system are insufficient to safely rule out a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Yet illnesses, the symptoms of which could also indicate a SARS-CoV-2 infection, occur more frequently in children than in adults. Therefore, numerous children would probably have to stay at home within the next months, if infection prevention is the primary objective.

The Bundeslaender have tried to provide answers to this conflict of interest. In summary, it can be stated: Ultimately, it is the GPs and paediatricians who should decide whether testing for COVID-19 is indicated or not. However, the recommendations to parents as to when children should consult a doctor differ depending on the Bundesland. Likewise, different evaluations are made as to when a child could continue attending school or kindergarden in the case of symptoms that could indicate a SARS-CoV-2 infection. At the same time, the recommendations of the Bundeslaender regarding the procedure for dealing with cold symptoms are not clear at all points and leave room for interpretation.

With regard to the social acceptance of the measures, it makes sense to adopt nationwide uniform regulations for school and kindergarden. These should also provide a step-by-step plan that standardises the handling of disease symptoms and links them to the infection process. Regarding employed parents it is also important to find clear rules that are as unbureaucratic as possible in order to ensure the compatibility of work and family in the coming months.