Berlin (dpa) – A few days before new federal-state talks everything boils down to an extension of the lockdown in Germany. It is unclear, however, until when the restrictions will be extended – and what will happen to schools and daycare centers.
After the talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) on Tuesday, the countries could drive different lines here. According to information from the German Press Agency, this is indicated after a switching conference of the State Chancellery bosses on Saturday.
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU), Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) and Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left), whose countries are badly affected by the second wave of infections, demanded a lockdown extension by a further three weeks until the end of January.
“Premature loosening would throw us back again,” said Söder of “Bild am Sonntag”. It wasn’t until mid-January that we really knew how Christmas and New Year’s Eve would have affected the number of infections. “We have to be consistent and not give up too soon.”
Ramelow even wants to tighten the lockdown in Thuringia in view of the high infection levels. He had proposed to the cabinet that people should limit their range of motion to 15 kilometers around their place of residence, he said on Sunday. The cabinet wants to decide on Tuesday after the federal-state talks. Ramelow reacted to the rush to the winter sports areas in the Thuringian Forest.
Other federal states severely affected by Corona also pleaded in the conference call for an extension to the end of the month, while less affected countries were ready to make a new decision after two weeks. The heads of government of Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse, Peter Tschentscher (SPD), Stephan Weil (SPD), Reiner Haseloff (CDU), Malu Dreyer (SPD) and Volker Bouffier (CDU), are also leaving from the fact that the strict rules must continue to apply. However, you did not mention a time span in interviews.
Tschentscher also wants to discuss the currently closed schools. This issue is particularly contentious. The Hamburg mayor told “Welt am Sonntag” that he expected information from the federal government, “on what scientific basis or data basis he is calling for a further blanket closure of daycare centers and schools and how he envisions the essential functions of basic care and medical treatment capacities should be maintained ».
The culture ministers of the federal states discuss the situation on Monday, one day before the prime minister. Above all, they consider the early opening of daycare centers and primary schools to be a priority. Söder, on the other hand, warned against a “hasty opening of schools and daycare centers”. “In view of the high number of infections, it would be irresponsible to simply send teachers and students back to schools completely,” he said. The risk of infection is high, especially after the holidays. Ramelow said that in Thuringia, a limited regular operation of schools and kindergartens was not planned again until February 1. Only students in the years in which degrees are pending, as well as their teachers with negative corona tests, should be able to return to schools in January.
In the conference call, countries with high numbers of cases pleaded to keep schools closed for the time being, and countries with lower numbers to open schools earlier with alternating or distance teaching in higher classes. Individual countries also suggested bringing the winter holidays forward, which in some countries begin between February 1st and 15th.
The chairman of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, pleaded for an extension of the lockdown. The federal and state governments should add a full four weeks, he told the Rheinische Post. That would mean a lockdown by February 2nd. “And I’m not at all sure it’s over then,” said Montgomery.
The chairman of the association also defended the action taken by the federal government and the EU when ordering the vaccines. “Nobody knew which vaccine would cross the approval line first,” he said. All allegations are now “the cheap attempt to suck political honey out of the vaccine shortage.”
Leading politicians from the opposition and the SPD had criticized that the German government, with the EU, had paid too little attention to the procurement of vaccines. The SPD in particular also attacked Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU). This defended himself: “We have ordered enough vaccine for Germany and the EU,” he told the “Rheinische Post”. “The problem is not the quantity ordered. The problem is the low production capacity at the beginning – with extremely high demand worldwide. ”
The health minister is relying on rapid approval of the vaccine from the British-Swedish company Astrazeneca, but is not aiming for a German solo effort. The vaccine, which is already approved in the UK, is currently under review by European regulatory authorities. In studies, the agent had shown less effectiveness than the vaccine from Biontech, but it can be stored with less effort and is significantly cheaper.
When it comes to the speed of vaccinations, Spahn also sees the federal states as having an obligation. “The fact that there is no uniform, but rather different, approach was a very deliberate decision of the federal states,” he said. “Now this decision must be implemented as best as possible together.”
Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) warned against cheap criticism of the vaccine order. “Know-it-alls don’t help us today,” he told the editorial network in Germany. Söder, however, attacked the EU Commission, which was responsible for procurement across Europe. You ordered too few and relied on the wrong manufacturers. “It is difficult to explain that a very good vaccine is developed in Germany, but is vaccinated more quickly elsewhere,” he said, referring to the Mainz company Biontech.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210103-99-879024 / 6