Stuttgart (dpa) – After a corona outbreak at a daycare center in Freiburg, the state government in Baden-Württemberg is initially refraining from opening daycare centers and primary schools across the country.
Two children in the emergency department became infected with a virus mutation and more than 20 children and employees in the facility became infected with the corona virus, Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann announced in Stuttgart. It must now become clear whether it also concerns the new virus variants. “If the mutant spread to us now, we would have to face this new situation,” said Kretschmann. Then the opening up of primary schools and day care centers should be reconsidered.
Health Minister Manne Lucha (Greens) said in the evening that it was the first case of mutated viruses in a daycare center in the Southwest. A total of 13 cases with the new virus variants became known across the country on Wednesday, a ministry spokesman said, correcting the number upwards.
The district office in Freiburg explains that on January 17, the first corona outbreak was in childcare. All 24 people affected have been quarantined since then and contacts have been followed up. The Diakonie Baden added that 14 teachers and 10 children at the Immergrün daycare center in Freiburg are suspected of being infected with a mutated variant of the coronavirus.
Originally, Kretschmann and Minister of Education Susanne Eisenmann (CDU) wanted to announce on Wednesday the decision that day care centers and primary schools should gradually reopen next Monday. Given the declining number of infections in the country, the decision was considered a formality. The opening has now been put on hold. The question is whether the topic will be discussed again before the scheduled end of the nationwide lockdown on February 14. Kretschmann said, “I have always made it clear that the opening decision depends on the pandemic and that we would face a completely new situation if one of the mutated viruses manifested.” Now you have to be clear before you can make a new decision.
A spokeswoman for Eisenmann said, “The Department of Social Affairs and the State Health Bureau must first clarify the exact facts.” Only then can you advise how to proceed. For the Minister of Education, who had insisted on an opening, the renewed postponement is a setback. She actually wanted to open nurseries and elementary schools for the children after the Christmas holidays – “regardless of incidence”. In Baden-Württemberg, about 450,000 children attend daycare centers and about 382,000 attend primary school. An opening was already planned for January 18, but Kretschmann had prevented this due to the high number of infections.
Kretschmann had already emphasized on Tuesday that if the new, probably more aggressive virus variants from Great Britain or South Africa spread to the southwest, a new situation would arise. “That can lead to drastic measures.” Then the relaxation should be reversed.