Berlin (dpa) – Due to the persistently high number of corona infections, more and more demands are being made to restrict public life much more than before. Store closings after Christmas are also under discussion.
It is unclear whether the federal government and the prime minister will meet again for Christmas. Not all heads of state consider this necessary. So far, a new prime minister’s conference is scheduled for January 4.
According to participants, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) emphasized in a video meeting of the parliamentary group of the Union on Monday that the measures taken so far will not discourage you from the stagnating number of infections, which is far too high. This means that you will not survive the winter without additional measures. What should be done and where should be decided before Christmas.
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) thinks stricter contact restrictions are necessary if the high number of infections does not decrease in the near future. “The approach, short and broad, to really make a difference, is probably the most successful. If we don’t get there with the development over the next one or two weeks until Christmas, then we should discuss it, ”said Spahn of television station Phoenix. The minister did not rule out the possibility of a renewed lockdown in the retail sector. “We have to make that dependent on the coming days, whether we can lower the numbers.”
Politicians are concerned that after five weeks of partial lockdown, there has been no decline in the number of new infections. Germany is far from the goal of reducing the number to below 50 per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days. No federal state is currently below par. In the Lower Bavarian district of Regen, which had an incidence value of almost 570 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants on Monday within seven days, pupils of all grades will receive distance lessons from Wednesday.
The newspaper “Bild” reported that tough measures must be taken after the holidays until the beginning of the year. There is talk of only leaving supermarkets open between December 27 and January 3 or 10. According to data from dpa, no concrete measures have yet been fully discussed.
The federal and state governments had actually agreed to allow ten people and children to attend family gatherings from December 23 to January 1 at the latest. Otherwise, up to five people from two households can be together. Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg have already limited the relaxation to December 23, 26 and 27, respectively. A maximum of five people are allowed in Berlin during the entire holiday.
The governments in Bavaria, Saarland and Baden-Wuerttemberg, such as Merkel, pushed for a quick additional meeting of the prime ministers. Government leaders from Berlin, Bremen, Lower Saxony and Thuringia expressed their doubts as to whether this was necessary. Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”: “We have set rules at the prime minister’s conference until January 10, 2021”. Everyone knows what to do.
Several state cabinets, including those in Erfurt and Dresden, will meet on Tuesday. For Saxony, the newspaper “Bild” reported Monday evening, citing government circles, that there would be talk of closing shops from next Monday (December 14). As in the spring, only essential stores are allowed to remain open. It is still unclear what exactly these are besides supermarkets.
The “Free Press” published in Chemnitz also reported online Monday evening that the tightened measures will start next week and last until January 10. The exact start is unclear, the newspaper writes, December 14 is considered a possible date. The spokesman for the Saxon government, Ralph Schreiber, made no comment in the evening, referring to the cabinet meetings on Tuesday and Friday.
There are also calls for tougher measures from the medical profession and local authorities. The president of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, told the “Rheinische Post”: “We need strict exit restrictions until Christmas everywhere in Germany where infections are high and people are only allowed to leave home for good reasons.” You have to come down from the high plateau with extremely high infection rates or the intensive care units could collapse shortly after the turn of the year.
The general director of the German Association of Cities and Municipalities, Gerd Landsberg, argued for stricter corona rules for the post-Christmas period. He called the desired relaxation on New Year’s Eve in the “Passauer Neue Presse” “illusory”.
However, FDP Deputy Wolfgang Kubicki doubts the effectiveness of a two-week lockdown. At the same time, he warned in the “Passauer Neue Presse” that a lockdown of three or four weeks would “shake the confidence of the population even more”.
The SPD’s health expert Karl Lauterbach warned federal and state governments to consult quickly. “The sooner the Chancellor and Prime Minister take decisions to seriously regain control of the situation, the better,” Lauterbach told the “Passauer Neue Presse”. “We must impose a tougher shutdown for the post-Christmas period,” demanded the SPD politician.
The Bavarian cabinet had already taken stricter measures on Sunday. CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt said the “image”: “Bavaria has already made important decisions here, which the other states should follow”.
Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz essentially defended the Bund-Länder rounds. The discussions would help to make “reasonably balanced decisions,” the SPD politician said in the ARD program on Monday evening, “harshly but fair”. “I know countries around us, so one of them takes care of that. And that sometimes works well and sometimes badly, ”the vice-chancellor made clear.