Berlin (dpa) – The federal government plans entry bans from countries with corona mutations. Moreover, the dispute between the European Union and the vaccine manufacturer Astrazeneca has still not been resolved.
For example, the coveted vaccine against the coronavirus in Germany remains scarce for the time being. In view of the declining number of infections, the possible relaxation of the corona lockdown is also being discussed in more detail. Several prime ministers called for uniform rules – other politicians warned against hasty steps.
POSSIBLE ACCESS BAN
According to information from “Spiegel”, the federal government is planning an entry ban for countries with a high distribution of Corona mutants. A template for a corresponding plan is currently being coordinated between the departments. A spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of the Interior confirmed to the German news agency that a corresponding decision is currently being voted on. As the “Bild” stated, it concerns entry bans for flights from countries where virus mutations already occur, such as South Africa.
The Bundestag FDP interior expert Stephan Thomae told Augsburger Allgemeine that considerations for far-reaching travel restrictions were an expression of “government failure”. “The coronavirus and its mutants are extremely dangerous, but we are not going to war.” He called for more corona rapid tests to be offered at country borders and airports.
EU VACCINE SHELL WITH ASTRAZENECA
In the vaccine dispute between the EU and manufacturer Astrazeneca, a new crisis discussion on Wednesday evening did not lead to a breakthrough. EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides praised the constructive tone of the conversation with Managing Director Pasal Soriot. But the matter hasn’t changed for now: large amounts of vaccine, urgently expected in Germany and other countries, are likely to arrive weeks or months later.
The EU has signed a framework agreement with Astrazeneca for 400 million vaccine doses. The preparation is expected to be approved in the EU on Friday. But the manufacturer surprisingly announced a delivery cut last week. According to the European Commission, only a quarter of the expected amount should be received for the time being. The European Commission is angry that the company has been promised € 336 million to ramp up production since the summer and some of that has also been paid. According to the EU reading, it should have produced in stock.
Even at the meeting on Wednesday evening, crucial questions were not definitively answered, according to the committee. There were no reliable announcements of additional deliveries to the EU and there was no willingness to leave UK-produced vaccine doses to the EU. But at least it had become clear that Soriot saw the gravity of the situation. “It was the start to arrive at a solution discourse”, he said from committee circles.
DEBATE ON POSSIBLE RELAXATION
Government leader Manuela Schwesig (SPD) of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania announced on Wednesday the prospect of an initial relaxation of the corona restrictions, but linked it to conditions. In Schleswig-Holstein, a new step-by-step plan is planned to be started in four phases from mid-February. Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) called for uniform rules to ease the corona lockdown: “I think it is important that we agree on the same” if-then rules “in Germany” , she said on the editorial network Germany. (RND). According to the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, the Lower Saxony government has also drawn up a plan to alleviate the situation – as a rough guide and in case the number of infections continues to decline.
On the other hand, Saarland Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) told the Funke media group papers, “In my opinion, discussing easing is the wrong signal.” As long as the target of less than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in one week is not achieved, strict measures must be maintained. But he also advocated developing a ‘perspective plan’. “We have to think about how things should go in the coming weeks for our daycare centers, our schools, for sports, retail and hospitality.”
Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU) warned against opening schools early. “Only when the infection rates are steadily decreasing and we have more accurate information about the mutations, can the schools be gradually reopened,” she told the newspapers of the Neue Berliner Redaktionsgesellschaft.