Berlin (dpa) – Under high pressure from many people’s expectations and the economy toward easing the lockdown, federal and state governments have advised how to proceed with the corona pandemic.
Despite the persistently high rate of infections, there were also discussions about easing the situation for regions where the incidence rate is consistently below 100 from just seven days. There may then be limited retail openings with fixed store dates. This is evident from the motion for a resolution for the talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the presidents of the state ministers.
At the start of the online consultations, Merkel emphasized its special importance. It was an “important day,” she said according to information from the German news agency of participants. She was quoted as saying, “We can move on to a new phase.”
However, the negotiations proved difficult and were not over after more than eight hours. In between, the conversations stalled so much that a break was taken. As a compromise, the seven-day incidence of 35 new infections per 100,000 population, initially scheduled multiple times for relief, was increased to 50.
The DPA had received the draft resolution from various independent sources. According to him, the lockdown will be extended to March 28 – but with many opening options, depending on the contamination situation. Next week it should be possible to meet your own household again with another household – limited to five participants, excluding children up to 14 years old. Currently, private gatherings are only allowed with one other person in the company of your own household.
According to information from the DPA, the newspaper was sent through the Chancellery, but reports say it had not been agreed in advance with all countries. During the discussions in the evening, an updated version with changes was elaborated.
The vaccination strategy emerged as a central theme. During the online conference, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder called for accelerated vaccinations with the involvement of doctors in the area. The motto should be: “Anything you can vaccinate”, the CSU chairman said according to dpa information. The rigid “vaccination bureaucracy” must be replaced by more flexibility. Therefore, all doctors should be involved as soon as possible, general practitioners in private practice, company doctors, hospitals and then school doctors. According to reports, Söder initially referred to the Astrazeneca vaccine, but later this should also apply to other vaccines.
According to data from dpa from various sources, it has been decided that general practitioners and specialists in many practices should vaccinate more extensively against Corona from the end of March or at the latest in early April.
The original and revised newspaper provided the next step in opening bookstores, flower shops and garden centers across Germany. This is already the case in some federal states. This was related to compliance with hygiene concepts and a limitation of the number of customers. Driving and flying schools must also be allowed to start again under certain conditions.
Some sort of roadmap is provided for openings depending on the level of infection in a country or region, as well as an emergency brake if the incidence increases from seven days to more than 100 new infections. Then all loosening should be automatically reversed.
With a stable seven-day incidence of less than 50 new infections per 100,000 residents, retailers should be able to reopen with a limited number of customers, as well as museums, galleries, zoos and botanical gardens. Contactless sports in small groups outside should be possible again.
Limited gaps may already exist in areas where only the 100 character is undercut. In addition to appointment purchase offers, museums, galleries, zoos, and botanical gardens could then be opened “to pre-arranged visitors.” Likewise, “individual sports alone or in pairs and sports in groups of up to ten children up to 14 years outdoors” may also be allowed.
Even the next opening step – from open-air restaurants, theaters, concert and opera houses, cinemas to non-contact indoor sports and outdoor contact sports – could, according to the design, occur with seven-day incidents up to 100. If the incidence is less than 50 two weeks after the previous opening step , there should be no restrictions. In contrast, at an incidence of up to 100, daily negative corona tests should be a mandatory requirement for the respective guests and participants.
A fifth opening step is foreseen if the incidence remains stable below 50 two weeks after the previous release. Leisure events with up to 50 participants outside are possible, as well as contact sports inside. Therefore, in regions with a stable incidence of up to 100, the retailer should be able to get offers to shop after the date, with a restriction on the number of customers depending on the sales area.
The planned regulations for companies in the test strategy have been softened compared to a previous document. There was no longer an obligation for companies to offer their employees present free quick tests. Instead, the federal government has a final meeting with the business community this week. The night before, there were discussions between Merkel and leading business associations on this issue.
According to the motion for a resolution, anyone who is not yet showing symptoms should receive at least one free rapid test per week, including a certificate of the test result. The federal government must bear the costs. The further opening of the schools is accompanied by rapid tests. According to this, federal states must ensure that “school and daycare staff and all students receive at least one free rapid test per week of attendance.”
At the same time as the Bund-Länder round, the opposition in the Bundestag strongly attacked the government’s actions. Left-wing health politician Achim Kessler called on the government to “Stop driving on sight at last.” Green health expert Janosch Dahmen asked for a “safety railing” as a condition for openings. To this end, all positive corona tests should be nationally examined for more infectious virus variants. Extensive and regular rapid and self-testing should become “common property” – not just in April. FDP Group Chairman Michael Theurer called for more speed, pointing out that vaccinations in the US are relatively “at the speed of light”. More ambition is also needed in the test strategy to be open.