Tuesday, April 20

Germany Faces Calls for a National Approach to Covid Restrictions | Coronavirus


Requests are growing in Germany for the introduction of coronavirus restrictions across the country amid confusion and frustration over mosaic arrangements across the country as the infection rate continues to rise.

Most Germans favor a more unified approach to fighting the virus, now in its third wave, according to a poll, ahead of an expected tightening of the rules after the holiday weekend.

53% of Germans have said they would like the government to set the rules without the support of the 16 states, according to a YouGov poll, to introduce more clarity.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has persistently called for stricter and more unified rules across the country, but it has often been overruled by state leaders, leading to a weakening of her position.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said that a national approach was the only way the country could effectively combat the spread of the virus.

“There is a great desire among the population for unified rules,” he told the Welt am Sontag newspaper. “That is why my proposal is to establish uniform rules with a federal law … that prescribes what measures must be taken according to the incidence value.”

A delay in reporting new infections during the holiday period is believed to be the reason for an apparent decrease in the number of incidents. The Robert Koch Institute said Monday’s figure of 8,500 new infections, about 1,400 less than a week ago, was probably actually higher due to the “Easter effect,” which meant fewer people were being tested. 50 deaths were also reported.

More than 4,100 coronavirus patients, the highest number since early February, are being treated in intensive care, 55 percent of whom are on respirators. During the pandemic, the highest level of patients admitted to the ICU so far was in early January. More than 4,600 ICU beds remain unoccupied.

While there is broad agreement that certain restrictions should be determined based on regional infection rates, the stark contrast between people in Hamburg facing a night curfew from Friday at the same time 60 to 70 planes per day they transported some 40,000 tourists to the The Spanish island of Mallorca has caused a feeling of unease, impatience and anger.

Reports over the weekend of Germans enjoying C20 temperatures on Mallorca’s beaches, while those staying at home faced a frozen polar front and snowstorms, have only added to the discontent.

Some politicians have even called for a postponement of the summer vacation after it was suggested last week that the strict restrictions could remain in place until August.

Merkel criticized the patchwork approach to the restrictions last week, saying she was not prepared to “stand by and see infections rise to 100,000 a day.”

After the Easter holidays, Merkel is widely expected to try to overcome some of Germany’s toughest lockdown conditions to date, including night curfews, a reduction in allowed contacts, and an obligation for companies to test. your workers or face a temporary shutdown. .

Some decision-makers have even raised that Germany might have to consider closing schools and kindergartens, which reopened on March 8 in a strict shift pattern, and replacing the equivalent A-level exams with assessment. of the teachers.

A rigorous twice-weekly testing regimen has yet to be implemented in schools that will be introduced before Easter.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn promised over the weekend that the country’s slow vaccine program would get a boost later this month with an increase in the number of dose deliveries, which he hoped would lead to the 20 % of citizens received their first vaccination. beginnings of May.

During a visit to a vaccine center in Berlin on Monday, he called the increase in the number of ICU patients “alarming” and said that the vaccine campaign was not able to break the third wave, only a reduction in contacts, “Mainly in private, in schools, at work, wherever we can.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel has persistently called for stricter and more unified rules across the country, but has often been rejected by state leaders. Photograph: Clemens Bilan / EPA

The introduction of vaccination in the offices of 35,000 doctors after Easter is expected to improve efficiency. A pilot project in Saarland state, where the military has a 24-hour vaccine center, could still be copied across the country.

So far 12% of Germans have received a first puncture and just over 5% are fully vaccinated.

The German government has begun to speak for the first time specifically of a correlation between being vaccinated and having more freedom to return to a pre-Covid-19 lifestyle, after data compiled by the RKI indicated that it was unlikely that the vaccinated people contribute to transmission.

Spahn said Sunday that “people who are fully vaccinated may in the future be treated in the same way as someone who has a negative test result.”

Gerd Landsberg, director of the German Association of Cities and Municipalities, welcomed the announcement and said he hoped it would increase people’s willingness to get vaccinated.

“If it can be determined that those who have already been vaccinated can no longer be contagious, they should be excluded from the necessary measures, such as having to take a test before going shopping or visiting a restaurant,” Landsberg told the Funke Mediengruppe. . “This would also greatly increase the incentive to get vaccinated,” he said.


www.theguardian.com

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