Berlin (DPA) – When Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the prime ministers gather for a video conference on Tuesday, there will be two-pronged crisis management.
Given the rapidly increasing number of infections, clarity must be provided about the corona course before the autumn – with adjustments in vaccination and testing and specifications for any further restrictions. The stated goal: to avert another big wave and another lockdown. The second crisis topic is a planned multi-billion dollar fund to finance reconstruction after the flood disaster in West Germany.
Quarrel and frustration
In the fight against the pandemic, after a long hiatus, the round of prime ministers is now meeting again, which has caused much controversy and frustration over the corona restrictions of late. More than six weeks before the general election, the question is also what course can be charted now with the prospect of broad acceptance. Whether a violent Corona election campaign is still going on.
The focus is on several principles, as evidenced by a concept that will be available to the German news agency from Monday evening – but important aspects were still open. The newspaper “Bild” and the editorial network Germany also reported on the newspaper.
After months of tinkering with vaccine shortages and under-vaccination appointments, both are now in full swing – as promised by the federal government before the summer. Now it is important to get as many hesitant citizens as possible for vaccinations as soon as possible to protect themselves against the more contagious variant of the Delta virus. “Every vaccination counts!” Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) issued an appeal.
About 45.6 million people across the country are fully vaccinated — nearly 55 percent of all residents. However, some states still have a lot to catch up on.
Proposals were already widely approved in advance to gradually phase out the offer of free rapid tests for everyone in the autumn – also as an extra incentive for more free vaccinations. The Federal Ministry of Health had proposed the move for mid-October – the exact date was still open for the time being.
Rapid tests should then only be free for people who cannot be vaccinated or for whom there is no general vaccination advice, such as for pregnant women or people under the age of 18.
There were no major discussions about distancing basic protection, hygiene and masking requirements in certain areas: on buses and trains or in shops. Uniform rules could be reorganized to enshrine the “3G rule” for access to certain facilities: that is, only those who have been vaccinated, recovered, or have recently tested negative may enter or participate.
This was addressed for clinics and nursing homes, indoor sports and events, indoor catering, body-hugging services such as hairdressing and accommodation. Recently, it has been disputed whether “2G” should also apply to a number of things: access only for vaccinated and recovering people, which private providers can do anyway.
The corona framework
It became clear that an important legal basis must also be maintained. The health ministers of the federal states unanimously agreed on Monday that the Bundestag would again extend the “epidemic of national magnitude” that had been identified until September 11.
Parliament last confirmed this on 11 June – without a new vote, the special situation would end after three months. It gives the federal government the right to issue direct regulations, for example on tests and vaccinations. According to the Infection Act, measures such as a mask obligation or contact restrictions, which the federal states can determine, relate to determining this “epidemic situation”.
Green chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock told the dpa: “It is important that, in addition to the debate on rapid tests and vaccination readiness, the nurseries and schools are at the center.” A “binding pledge from politics” is needed that keeping it open is a priority. It is critical to ensure that adults are vaccinated, especially around children. “In this way a kind of ‘protective cocoon’ can be formed. All schools and nurseries should be able to equip rooms with air filters or at least CO2 traffic lights.
CDU economic politician Friedrich Merz told the dpa: “There should be no further lockdown.” An overload of the intensive care units has become very unlikely due to vaccinations. “Those who have been vaccinated, those who have recovered and who have been tested should therefore be able to live a normal life even in the fall with higher incidences.”
The federal and state governments also want to agree on a fund to finance reconstruction after the floods in West Germany – according to data from the dpa, there was a potential amount of around 30 billion euros. According to Monday night’s draft, half of the construction projects will be funded by the federal and state governments. The amounts have not yet been quantified.
Especially in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate there was enormous damage. It should also advise on improvements, for example in the form of warnings to citizens. This includes a siren upgrade program and a system that sends messages to mobile phone users in a similar way to SMS – to anyone currently in a radio cell.