Corona easing: consultations concluded between the Federal Government and the governments of the Federal States

by Thorsten Koch

In a consultation which dragged on for hours, the Federal Government and the State Governments agreed that there should be a step-by-step plan that results in easing the lockdown. The measures against Corona are to be extended until March 28th.

An extension of the interval between the first and the second vaccination against the Coronavirus is planned. In addition, the vaccine supplied by AstraZeneca should be used for the elderly as well, and it should be possible for those to be vaccinated to be treated more flexibly.

Free Covid testing

At the end of the month and beginning of April, general practitioners will be integrated in the vaccination campaign. From March 8, a Corona test is to be made available to those affected once each week, at no cost. The Federal Government will pay for these tests. These are to be carried out especially in schools and day care centers.

The limits ​​for the opening steps are 50 and 100 new infections for 100,000 residents, respectively, participants said. According to the official draft of the Chancellery, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Federal States of Berlin and Bavaria, regional openings to a lesser extent should be possible even with an incidence value of over 35, after appointments have been made. This will apparently be handled more strictly.

Meeting of several households

As of Monday, five people from two households will be permitted to meet again, participants said. According to the aforementioned draft, children up to the age of 14 are not counted. Regionally, it may become possible for members of three households to gather. It was initially planned that relatives could hold visits during Easter. However, this passage is no longer to be found in the draft.

Furthermore, according to the draft, bookstores, flower shops, garden centers and bookstores will be allowed to resume business from next week, after schools and hairdressers had reopened their doors from the beginning of the current week. In a next step, driving schools and “body-friendly services” can go back to their work if a daily test turns out negative. This will depend on the decision of the respective Federal States.

Retail and cultural institutions possible in the future

The following step is to open retail stores, museums, galleries, zoos and botanical gardens, as well as memorials. Sports without contact restrictions are to be allowed with up to 10 people. However, residents from risk areas should in principle not be allowed to use offers from regions in which the incidence is low. In a final, fifth step, it should be allowed that leisure activities with up to 50 participants outdoors, as well as contact sports, can be pursued again. On March 24th, there will be a discussion between the Federal Government and the states on how to proceed with industries such as travel and the hotel industry.

Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) had previously warned that there should be a faster pace of vaccinations. He too had campaigned for the AstraZeneca vaccine to be available to those over 65 years of age. People will have to wait about six weeks for the second vaccination with the vaccine from BioNTech/Pfizer and twelve weeks for the one with the vaccine from AstraZeneca. The latter, in particular, should be administered more often.

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