Government seeks support for longer lockdown | Free press

Berlin (dpa) – Despite the slight drop in infections, the federal government has campaigned for support for longer corona restrictions with new demands through February.

“This lockdown is like an antibiotic: if you quit too early, it could get worse afterward,” said Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) Wednesday. Precisely because the contamination numbers seem to be on the right track, it is important to increase efforts so that “we can reduce the numbers properly”. How to deal with schools that are still closed has already been discussed. Due to lower vaccine deliveries over the next week, some federal states are facing organizational difficulties.

Spahn said in Berlin that it was a matter of getting the infection process on a scale that could be manageable over a longer period of time, for example in tracking infection chains and controlling quarantine. “I don’t want us to have to blame ourselves in the end, we relaxed too early and after four weeks we were back where we were before.” The precautionary principle also applies to new, probably more contagious virus variants. “Once we have the mutation everywhere, it is too late if in doubt.”

Also out of concern, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the prime ministers decided on Tuesday evening to extend the planned lockdown for the end of January with the closure of numerous facilities until February 14. Personal education is not allowed in schools. Here a restrictive approach was agreed, said deputy government spokeswoman Martina Fietz. The federal government assumes that “it will also be implemented in this way”. However, in individual countries, there are considerations of returning to face-to-face operations sooner, at least in primary schools.

Nationally, the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants fell to 123 in 7 days, as the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced on Wednesday – the peak was recorded on December 22 at 197.6. The number has fluctuated since then and has been declining for a few days. The differences between the federal states are still large – from Thuringia with 238 to Bremen with 79. The stated goal of the federal and state governments is a national level of less than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in one week.

To this end, new specifications were also set for, for example, more work at home and better protective masks in buses, trains and shops – FFP2 masks of higher quality or cheaper surgical masks. According to Spahn, there is currently no information about bottlenecks in masks, locally or at certain times that this could occur. Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) presented a home office ordinance in the cabinet. Companies should therefore offer employees in office work or similar activities to work from home, if there are no compelling operational reasons for deviating from this. Many companies showed what was possible, Heil said. “Everyone has to.”

World Medical Association president Frank Ulrich Montgomery expects corona measures to be extended beyond mid-February. You have to get people used to this being a way of life now for the rest of the winter that you have to live with, he said in the SWR. The chairman of the intensive care medical association Divi, Gernot Marx, told the editorial network Germany: from the first wave – barely below 3,000. »On Wednesday, about 4,800 corona patients were in intensive care.

North Rhine-Westphalia postpones the start of vaccinations for over-80s living at home. The country’s 53 vaccination centers are now starting operations a week later, on Feb. 8, as the Ministry of Health announced. In addition, a vaccination ban was imposed in hospitals. The background is the temporarily lower vaccine deliveries from manufacturers Biontech and Pfizer to all countries in the coming week due to adjustments in a bottling plant.

As a result, other countries are also postponing their schedules. Spahn said something can always happen in the process. However, he was again angry about briefly informing the companies. He is grateful to the countries that are working hard to keep the impact on citizens as low as possible for the next two to three weeks. From the beginning of February, the number of cans should be above plan again, the ministry explained. The reason for this is that six instead of five doses per ampoule are now possible.

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