by Thorsten Koch
The Bavarian Prime Minister Söder (CSU) has “little hope that the measures to contain the Corona pandemic can be lifted by the end of November”. “We have to rely on security,” explained Söder. The lockdown must be maintained until it will yield an actual effect.
The five-hour video conference between the Federal and State Governments ended on Monday without a resolution. Resolutions with possibly new restrictions against Covid-19 were initially postponed by one week to November 25. Söder said after the meeting: “Next week is the week of decisions.”
School restrictions ought to be avoided
It had been discussed in advance, internally, whether the mask requirement in schools should generally apply to students and teachers, including in class, and whether public contacts should be further reduced. The Prime Ministers of the Federal States refused to render this binding. During the video conference, the Federal and State Governments decided on the formulation that “reliable support serves to reconcile family and work”, which is why restrictions on school operations should be avoided for the time being.
On the other hand, there was an appeal to the population to maintain as few contacts as possible for the time being, not to travel privately and, if possible, not to hold private celebrations. Chancellor Merkel (CDU) said it was not possible to make precise predictions, but was trying to present predictable solutions over Christmas, New Year and beyond. Therefore, there should be an outlook in a week so that the population can plan. As is well known, it should be achieved that there are fewer than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days. Merkel stressed that there has not yet been a trend reversal nationwide. In Berlin, for example, there is no reduction in the number of infections.
“The increasing number of infections has … very clear effects on the situation in the intensive care units,” lamented Berlin’s Governing Mayor Müller (SPD), chairman of the Conference of Prime Ministers. “For the first time, 1,000 Corona intensive care patients are being treated here at the same time.” If the numbers do not drop drastically, the Corona rules could be tightened towards the end of the year.
People with cold symptoms advised to stay at home
Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Weil (SPD) believes it is possible that many of the various recommendations from Monday, November 25th, will be “implemented into applicable law”. Until then, there is still a need for the federal and state governments to coordinate precisely and about how a future hotspot strategy can be designed, for instance for companies and religious gatherings. Until then, people with cold symptoms are advised to stay at home if possible and only meet with members of another household, to forego avoidable leisure activities and, in general, not to visit particularly vulnerable people.
It is possible that people with previous illnesses will soon be provided with a certain number of particularly effective FFP2 masks in exchange for a financial contribution. But first, the development of the number of infections must be kept in view.
Incidentally, on Wednesday the Bundestag is to vote on an expansion of the Infection Protection Act. A new paragraph is to enumerate individually which steps, prohibitions and restrictions may be necessary. In the interests of transparency, ordinances on restrictions should be publicly justified. The Bundestag should be informed regularly. Measures must also be limited in time. The law could, in practice, lead to more nationwide uniformity with respect to the anti-Corona measures.