Today, Tuesday, the Prime Minister will meet again with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) to discuss, among other things, how to continue the corona policy in view of the ever-increasing number of new infections. It should be Merkel’s farewell meeting in this group. And somehow it’s a journey to the…
Today, Tuesday, the Prime Minister will meet again with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) to discuss, among other things, how to continue the corona policy in view of the ever-increasing number of new infections. It should be Merkel’s farewell meeting in this group. And it’s a bit like traveling back in time. In fact, the group had already agreed that the effectiveness of this circle is limited and that the countries should be given more leeway. Now, however, the call for a uniform approach is increasingly coming from the federal states in particular. Ensuring a coordinated strategy is unlikely to be an easy task, especially in the tense times of the budding federal election campaign. Therefore, long deliberations are again expected. Norbert Wallet describes what questions are at the forefront when it comes to fighting corona.
Are the incidence values still decisive?
The question that needs to be clarified is whether the number of new infections within a week per 100,000 inhabitants should remain the most important indicator for estimating the threat of the virus and for determining a pandemic situation. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) believes that this cannot continue. His argument: The vaccinations that had already been carried out and the vaccination campaign that was progressing – albeit with increasing difficulty – had changed the situation. There is in fact an increasing decoupling of the incidence figures of the occupation of intensive care beds. Overloading the health system has been the central driver of all lockdown decisions.
Do you want to stop the free quick tests soon?
This debate also shows that further advances in vaccinations are the decisive key in successfully fighting corona. How this can be achieved is likely to be a major concern of the Prime Minister’s conference. Essentially, it’s about whether those who don’t want to get vaccinated should face more pressure or whether a strategy of incentives and more advertising is more appropriate to increase vaccination coverage. Anyone who thinks more pressure is needed brings a financial means into the discussion: the end of the free corona rapid tests. The expiration of the free tests is also stated in the strategy paper recently presented by the Federal Ministry of Health – in October. This has now led to a very lively and highly controversial debate. Prime Ministers such as Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) of Baden-Württemberg and Stephan Weil (SPD) of Lower Saxony have spoken out in favor. Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) also thinks this is – not surprisingly – justified.
Should only the unvaccinated be affected by the lockdown?
Erwin Rüddel, the chairman of the health committee, has promised that the unvaccinated people should go into lockdown if the number of cases rises sharply, while the vaccinated people will keep all options. But there are also other voices. Robert Habeck, the chairman of the Greens, does not want pressure, but incentives. FDP right-wing politician Stephan Thomae has made a similar statement. CDU chancellor candidate Armin Laschet is also counting on more incentives and more advertising for the vaccination campaign, he made clear on Monday in the party presidium. He doesn’t like the demands for more toughness from his own ranks. There are now a number of very practical suggestions for the stimulation strategy: vaccination buses for, for example, clubs, youth centers and events.
How is flood relief organised?
The Prime Minister’s conference must also address a topic that has nothing to do with Corona: with the help for the opera from the flood disaster, especially in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia. The Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, has spoken out, like the SPD candidate for Chancellor Olaf Scholz, that there should be no upper limit on the support of those affected. It becomes clear that a fund will be set up for the aid, which will also be financed by the Länder according to their share of the total population. (shore)