Berlin (dpa) – In the run-up to Christmas, the federal government is also counting on citizens’ own responsibility to reduce personal contacts and better control the corona pandemic.
As a “celebration of privacy”, Christmas is “a certain unknown” in the risk assessment, Chancellor Helge Braun said in ZDF’s “Maybrit Illner” program. “Whether we prepare for Christmas and live with families in such a way that it becomes a contagion problem, or we achieve the exact opposite – we really have it all in our own hands.”
Bringing contacts to an “bare minimum” is a prerequisite for meeting family members safely, the CDU politician said. “No one would want to infect their loved ones and relatives.” Therefore it depends a lot on everyone’s behavior in the week before Christmas.
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn also called on citizens to take their personal responsibility. “Ultimately, we cannot enforce what is needed in this pandemic with state rules alone,” the CDU politician said in an ARD “Extra”. People should take care of each other and maybe celebrate Christmas on a smaller scale than usual.
Federal and state governments decided on Wednesday evening that the partial closure, including the closure of restaurants, theaters and leisure facilities, would be extended to December 20. Private gatherings with friends, relatives and acquaintances should be limited to a maximum of five people from your own household and one other household. However, it should be possible to celebrate Christmas in close family and friends with a maximum of ten people. Children up to 14 years are not included.
However, in some countries there are different rules. Berlin does not want to participate in the relaxation for Christmas. The background to this is the crossing of a threshold that the federal and state governments had agreed: The corona rules will be tightened again for a number of 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week. In Berlin, this so-called seven-day incidence on Thursday was 215.6.
In addition, Berlin, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia want to allow hotel stays at Christmas, contrary to the wishes of Minister of Chancellery Braun. Anyone traveling to visit relatives “should have the opportunity to stay overnight,” said Hesse Prime Minister Volker Bouffier (CDU). The Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet (CDU), and the Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller (SPD), stated that such overnight stays had no tourist purpose. Braun, on the other hand, again pointed out to ZDF that the intention to stay overnight could not be verified and that there was a risk of a tourist offer through the back door.
In Schleswig-Holstein, with its relatively low rate of infections, nail and beauty studios, massage parlors and animal parks can reopen from Monday. The seven-day incidence in Schleswig-Holstein was 47.6 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants on Thursday, according to the state government in the evening.
Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) said in the ARD “Extra” that he would think it better if all countries stayed on the same line. Söder also gave little hope that the federal and state governments will talk at a possible next meeting in mid-December about loosening corona restrictions. Since the start of the partial lockdown in early November, the number of infections has stagnated at best. ‘I don’t think it’s about major easing. Hopefully it will not be about more consistent measures, ”said Söder. “Corona is actually a test of patience for all of us.”
According to surveys, most citizens want to support the contact cuts demanded by politicians. 73 percent of the respondents indicated in the ARD “Deutschlandtrend” that they wanted to limit contacts with their family or visits during the Christmas holidays to a greater or lesser extent. Almost a quarter (23 percent) do not plan any restrictions. In a Civey survey commissioned by the news portal “T-Online”, more than 82 percent said they would probably adhere to the contact rules at Christmas.
CDU Chairman Friedrich Merz defended his statement that it is not governmental to celebrate Christmas. “At Christmas especially, there should be rooms for private life and families that are not controlled by the state. He can and must rely on the sense of responsibility of the people of the country for Christmas, “said Merz of the” Rheinische Post “.
The total number of corona infections discovered so far in Germany exceeds the one million mark. Health authorities reported 22,806 new infections to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within 24 hours. The number of known cases since the start of the pandemic has risen to 1,006,394, the RKI announced. A week ago Friday, with 23,648 cases reported to the RKI, a record was reached in daily new infections. The number of deaths related to the virus rose 426 to a total of 15,586 as of Friday – that’s a new daily high.