Berlin (dpa) – Given the rapidly increasing number of corona infections, stronger countermeasures are once again coming into the picture – but what does that mean for millions of citizens who have already been vaccinated?
The federal government now wants to discuss this with the federal states in order to prevent a new big wave after the summer holidays. The dispute continues about possibly stricter rules for people who, despite many offers, will not be vaccinated in the coming weeks. However, the federal government does not want “mandatory vaccination through the back door,” as deputy spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said in Berlin on Monday.
Despite the low incidence, the current situation is “certainly worrying,” Demmer said. As of today, the number of cases has increased by 75 percent within a week. “If this development continues, we will have to take additional measures.” Everything must be done to avoid a situation like in the spring, she said in view of the third corona wave. Nationally, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days has now risen to 14.3 – the day before that was 13.8, the last low on July 6 was 4.9.
Two months before the federal election, the further procedure for managing the corona crisis is a delicate matter: which steps make sense when, for whom and may gain wider acceptance in the midst of the hot phase of the election campaign? Demmer said that in the coming days and weeks, we must look at what is possible and what is possible with the federal states. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) will also hold a round with the prime minister date still open. The focus is on a higher vaccination coverage, how to deal with returning travelers and possible measures against rising numbers.
When it comes to vaccinations, after a long plea for patience, those who hesitate are now regularly called upon – because there is now enough vaccine available. “The goal set at the start of the vaccination campaign to offer everyone who wants to be vaccinated before the end of the summer was therefore already achieved at the beginning of the summer and therefore much earlier,” according to a report with department head Jens. Spahn (CDU) informed the Bundestag and his compatriots on Monday.
Low-threshold vaccination is important
Now it is important to reach citizens who have not yet decided on a vaccination, it continues. Concrete, low-threshold offers on site are important here. Nearly half of people in Germany (49.4 percent) have now been fully vaccinated, according to the RKI, so 60.9 percent of the population has had at least one first injection. However, there are regional differences: in Bremen, 69.8 percent of the population is vaccinated at least once, Saxony remains at the rear with a share of 51.6 percent.
As a vaccination stimulus, it should also be possible to be spared any new restrictions – but how exactly is open. The federal government emphasized in general that those who have been fully vaccinated and those who have recovered with a single vaccination – as opposed to those tested with a rapid test – no longer make any relevant contribution to the infection process. Tests are also not 100 percent reliable and meaningful.
Vaccinated people benefit in the fourth corona wave?
Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) sees vaccinated people at an advantage in a possible fourth corona wave. “You should not have restrictions like those who don’t want to be vaccinated,” he told the German news agency. “I think it is right that there is no mandatory vaccination. But that also means that without vaccination you have to accept disadvantages such as constant testing.”
Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) told ZDF: “There will be no general mandatory vaccination.” It must remain that vaccinated, convalescent and tested negative people have access. “If everyone who can get vaccinated still doesn’t, then maybe you should start thinking about whether the testing options are at their expense.”
Possible restrictions for unvaccinated people in conversation
Chancellery Minister Helge Braun (CDU) had raised possible restrictions on unvaccinated people. “That could also mean that certain offers such as restaurant, cinema and stadium visits are no longer possible, even for unvaccinated people who have not been tested because the residual risk is too high,” he told the “Bild am Sonntag”. On Monday, Braun explained in the “Bild” lecture that in case the group of unvaccinated people remained so large that there was a relevant wave, they would have to be treated differently in the case of disabilities.
Green chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock said the most important thing was to make a vaccination offer to everyone. “And then in the next step, when that’s done, to talk about the fact that in some areas people who are vaccinated can do things and others cannot.” Left Federal Director Jörg Schindler warned against pressuring people who had not been vaccinated. There is a need for better information and vaccination options. FDP Secretary General Volker Wissing told the “Rheinische Post” that instead of threatening vaccination obligations or new contact restrictions, all levers should be pulled so that the “dormant vaccination campaign” gains momentum.
Lambrecht also referred to freedom of contract. It leaves a restaurateur “obviously open whether he limits the hospitality in his restaurant to, for example, vaccinated people”. The German Hotel and Restaurant Association believes that such a thing is only possible in the worst case, when the infection situation deteriorates dramatically. General Manager Ingrid Hartges told the dpa: “There is currently no reason to get something like this off the ground. That would be level X, but we are far from that.” In most countries there is currently no mandatory inspection for indoor catering.