Band countries wrestled to an agreement on stricter contact restrictions in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus on Wednesday. At a meeting in the Chancellery, which took place for the first time in a long time as a face-to-face event and not as a video conference, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the state ministers discussed how to react to the increasing number of infections.
Political correspondent in Berlin, responsible for “Bildungswelten”.
The Chancellor was evidently dissatisfied with the course of the deliberations and the planned resolutions, because she considered them to be inadequate. “The announcements from us are not tough enough to avert the disaster from us,” said Merkel according to the consensus of participants on Wednesday evening during the meeting. With the measures now determined, the federal and state governments would be “back here in two weeks”. “It’s just not enough what we’re doing here.” The basic mood is that every country is looking for a small loophole. “That’s what worries me. And the list of health authorities that do not make it is getting longer and longer. ”But Merkel’s harder line met with resistance from the countries.
Decision on the ban on accommodation only in November
Since private and public celebrations have proven to be the main drivers of infection and they can only take place indoors with a high risk of infection during the cold autumn and winter months, they are affected by the toughest restrictions. In regions with more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week, private celebrations should generally be limited to a maximum of ten participants and two households in the future. If the value of new infections remains so high for ten days, only a maximum of five people from two households are allowed to meet for private celebrations. This determination will be the most difficult to control. This does not apply to the curfew for the catering trade at 11 p.m., which is also to be introduced at an incidence of 50 per 100,000.
Read an overview of the resolutions here
The federal and state governments have not come up with a uniform line on the ban on accommodation for people from hotspot regions, which is so controversial among the federal states. However, the effectiveness of the accommodation ban is to be checked and a decision will only be taken on November 8th, at the end of the autumn holidays. The resolution urgently calls on people to refrain from “unnecessary domestic German travel” to areas with a number of new infections above the 50-person mark or from such areas. According to reports, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Lower Saxony and Hamburg want to stay with the regulation for the time being, but it should soon fall in Saxony and Saarland. How Bavaria will proceed is still open and should be decided in a cabinet meeting on Thursday. For the time being, the majority of countries are sticking to their accommodation ban. North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) had resolutely fought for the abolition of the ban during the deliberations. But the insurmountable resistance of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania had already become apparent before the meeting.
At the beginning of the meeting, the head of the Systems Immunology Department at the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research in Braunschweig, Michael Meyer-Hermann, discussed with the group for an hour and a half. He urgently warned the federal and state governments of a loss of control over the infections. “It’s not five to twelve, but twelve to turn the ship,” he said in the Chancellery. Germany is on the threshold of exponential growth. To make it clearer, the scientist showed a simulation of how the infection process could develop if politicians do not take very decisive countermeasures. Meyer-Hermann apparently also suggested a travel ban for people from risk areas, which was met with great skepticism among the participants.
“We have made significant progress today, but whether that will be enough is open,” said Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) late in the evening. There are more uniform and transparent rules. More mask, less alcohol and less partying is the triad that is important. Germany is much closer to a second lockdown than it wants to admit. However, if there is a second lockdown, it will have significant consequences for the economy, educational progression and social life, Söder warned. “There is so much at stake and we need staying power,” said the Prime Minister and appealed to everyone for solidarity.