Berlin (dpa) – The planned withdrawal of many corona restrictions for fully vaccinated and recovered people has taken the next hurdle. On Thursday, the Bundestag passed by a large majority a corresponding regulation from the federal government.
The black-red coalition, the Greens and the Left voted for it. The FDP abstained, the AfD voted against. If the Federal Council also approves this Friday, the relief can take effect on the weekend.
Minister of Justice Christine Lambrecht (SPD) spoke about an important step and a rule of law. Since, according to the scientific expertise of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered could in any case infect other people to a significantly lesser extent, the rationale for restrictions on fundamental rights no longer applies.
Rule of law principles should also apply in times of crisis, according to the minister. Specifically, relief is about the fact that people in nursing homes who have had to eat alone in their room for a long time can go back to the dining room together – or that siblings can visit their mothers together on Mother’s Day.
Under the regulation, launched by the government in an accelerated process, contact and exit restrictions for those who have been fully vaccinated and those who have recovered should be removed. They should not be counted when meeting other people. For example, in regions with a high number of infections, two unvaccinated people could meet an unlimited number of vaccinated people. Vaccinated people should also be treated in the same way as those who tested negative. You no longer have to take a test in shops or at the hairdresser.
Evening exit restrictions no longer apply to vaccinated and convalescing people. In the case of limitations on face-to-face education, these should also be treated as equivalent to those who tested negative. However, there are currently no approved vaccinations for children under the age of 16.
Vaccinated and convalescents no longer need to be quarantined. This applies, for example, to people who have been in contact with infected people or who are traveling from abroad – unless they have contracted a virus variant that is not yet widespread in Germany or are traveling from a virus variant area. Vaccinated and convalescents must also wear masks and follow distance rules in certain areas.
Lambrecht also referred to the Federal Constitutional Court, which had rejected urgent requests against nighttime exit restrictions in the course of the Corona emergency brake the day before. She said fundamental rights can be restricted to protect life and health and ensure the functioning of the health system. The minister stressed: “We all have to work very hard so that these steps towards normalcy not only apply to those who have been vaccinated and recovered, but that we all work back to this desired normalcy.”
In the debate, the opposition criticized the government’s corona course. With the regulation, vaccinated and convalescing people should get some of their constitutionally guaranteed basic rights, but millions of others would be discriminated against, AfD MP Ulrich Oehme said. FDP health politicians Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus welcomed the return to more freedom for those vaccinated and those recovered, but it doesn’t go far enough. Freedoms are not sliced, they only exist as a whole.
The left-wing party leader Susanne Ferschl said the withdrawal of the restrictions was logical. But it is the government’s job to restore freedom for all citizens. She called for faster vaccinations for people in precarious living conditions. Green MP Manuela Rottmann said that with the repeal of restrictions on vaccinated people, a constitutional matter would of course be reaffirmed. She accused the government of failing to provide counterfeit-proof vaccination documents before.
Union Party Vice Thorsten Frei (CDU) said it was now the “first step towards hope, and further steps will follow”. He also defended the corona restrictions. It is certainly not the case that all fundamental rights can apply without restriction at the same time. It now comes down to asserting another fundamental right, that of physical integrity.
SPD MP Johannes Fechner said the regulation was nothing less than “access to a return to normalcy”. It does lead to unequal treatment between vaccinated and non-vaccinated people. But you must “recognize that this is only the case for a manageable, short period of time. I only hope for a few weeks ». In addition, there must be an incentive to get vaccinated.