KShortly before another top meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the Prime Minister of the federal states on how to deal with the corona pandemic, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) once again emphasized the seriousness of the situation. It was about the spread of mutants. “It is normal for viruses to change. It is not necessarily that they become so much more infectious so quickly, ”said Spahn in Berlin.
Political correspondent in Berlin, responsible for “Bildungswelten”.
This particularly affects the mutants that have appeared in the UK and South Africa. In addition, there are “further worrying reports from Brazil,” said Spahn. On Monday, he signed an ordinance aimed at causing laboratories to genetically examine more viruses than before. The systematic analysis of possible mutants of the coronavirus in Germany will be “an integral part of the pandemic monitoring,” said Spahn.
In the case of a corona outbreak at the Garmisch-Patenkirchen Clinic, a new variant of the virus may have been found there. According to the first interim results, it is neither the British, South African nor the Brazilian mutant. The Deputy Medical Director Clemens Stockklausner said on Monday that it was “absolutely not clear whether this would have clinical relevance”. Overall, the variant was found in 35 patients and employees.
The appearance of the mutants unsettles even experts. It is to be expected that the federal and state governments will tighten the corona restrictions this Tuesday. This is particularly important for the Robert Koch Institute and other scientists. The physicist Viola Priesemann spoke out on Sunday with the support of the Greens in the European Parliament for a strict lockdown in order to have achieved real improvements in three to four weeks and to get out of the “lockdown yo-yo”. “We should do everything now,” in a quick, tough, European-coordinated lockdown, she said. Priesemann pointed out that the effectiveness of individual measures cannot be precisely quantified. “The most important thing is whether people want to participate.” It will also be important that the countries do not weaken the decisions again.
The smaller the radius, the greater the effect
Neither the President of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, nor the Chancellery Minister Helge Braun (CDU) consider the current restrictions to be a real lockdown. In particular, the incidence of 200 new infections per 100 inhabitants within a week, which is said to be decisive for mobility restrictions, is a thorn in the side of the Chancellery.
At the last conference, Braun would have liked to get an agreement on 100. A movement radius of 15 kilometers, as is currently the case with 200 newly infected people, only restricts mobility by about five percent. The smaller the radius, the greater the effect, said the physicist from the Robert Koch Institute and Berlin’s Humboldt University Dirk Brockmann last week. During the spring lockdown, mobility fell by 40 percent in the first week and a half, and in cities by up to 70 percent. Around Christmas and New Year, it was only around 15 percent lower than the previous year.
“Although that would be very hard for the individual, I would also find a curfew after 8 p.m. to be right for three weeks,” said the SPD health politician Karl Lauterbach. SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz also considers curfews to be a possible measure – but not the very first.
How do you get more people into the home office?
In addition, it is discussed how it can be possible that more employees work in the home office. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had recently promoted this. According to a survey by the union-affiliated Hans Böckler Institute, more than half of the employees could work from home, but so far only a fifth have moved their jobs home. “That’s why we need a home office for the next few weeks,” demanded Schleswig-Holstein’s SPD state chairman Serpil Midyatli. In cases of doubt, employers should have to provide a justification if they did not send their employees to the home office.
What is certain is that the opening of kindergartens and schools will not play a role in the next resolutions. Rather, it is to be expected that the emergency care and the suspension of compulsory attendance, which in some places looked like five to ten pupils per class came to school every day, will be handled more strictly. However, prime ministers and ministers of education know that a further closure of the educational institutions can no longer be sustained. After the Abitur exams, Bavaria has postponed all other exams, at secondary schools, secondary schools and business schools by two weeks, and at technical colleges and vocational colleges by a good three weeks.
In the upper grades of grammar schools and elementary schools, the number of exams and test work will be further reduced. The education ministers want to comment on how to deal with final exams by Thursday at the latest. Scientists have agreed to the proposal to make FFP2 masks mandatory for shopping and public transport. Appropriate masks would have to be made available to socially weaker families and individuals.