Berlin (dpa) – The strict restrictions on personal contacts will be tightened again for a few weeks in the fight against the corona pandemic, but will then be relaxed at Christmas. The prime ministers agreed on this after talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU).
Merkel called for another “major effort” to get the persistently high rate of corona infections back under control. “It depends on each of them,” said the Chancellor. The partial shutdown that began in November with the shutdown of numerous facilities broke the surge in new infections, but these are still at a high plateau.
Contact restrictions should be tightened again – limiting meetings to a maximum of five people from two households. According to human judgment, this should apply until the beginning of January. But it must be possible to celebrate Christmas – in close-knit family and friends with a maximum of ten people, not including children up to 14 years old. Schleswig-Holstein adheres to its own contact rules.
The reigning Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller (SPD), stressed that the deliberations this time were “without controversy, without argument”. The situation is serious. In Berlin, a quarter of the intensive care beds are now occupied with Covid19 patients.
During their meeting at the end of October, the group decided that temporary stay in public should only be allowed with members of your own household and with another household, but at least with a maximum of 10 people. And that violations of these contact restrictions are also sanctioned by the regulatory authorities. It was then said in mid-November that meetings in private rooms should also be “limited to a permanent household with friends, family and acquaintances”. But that was only an urgent recommendation.
There should be uniform rules for students infected with Corona and for their classmates. Merkel and the federal prime ministers agreed in their video conference that students who tested positive would immediately be sent to a five-day quarantine along with their classmates – usually the school class. Count the days on the weekend. As stated in the joint decision document, affected students must pass a short test after five days of quarantine. Anyone who is negative can go back to school. Those that are positive should be retested every three days until the test is negative.
According to the decision, teachers should not be included in this “cluster isolation” because of “the temporary and differently structured contact”. However, it remains to be seen whether there are enough rapid tests for such a procedure. The resolution only says, “The federal government will continue to ensure the largest possible contingent of rapid antigen testing for Germany and also support the development of domestic manufacturing capabilities.”
Merkel wants to start the debate again next Thursday about the corona crisis in the Bundestag.
According to the Robert Koch Institute, the number of corona deaths reported within 24 hours has risen to a high of 410 on Wednesday morning. The number of new corona infections reported within 24 hours was 18,633.