Corona in Germany: Söder for deepened lockdown policy

A group of around 30 people protested against the Corona measures on Sunday morning in front of the private property of the Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) in Großschönau. According to the police, the CDU politician spoke to about 30 people at the garden fence. After about 15 minutes the debate ended and everyone left the place.

“It was not a threatening situation for me. It is important to me to talk to people in the hope of convincing them,” said Kretschmer of the German press agency. However, when a woman demonstratively pulled a scarf in the colors of the Reich War flag over her mouth, a limit had been reached for him. “Then I broke off the conversation. It went too far,” said the 45-year-old. During the conversation he was concerned that the protesting people in front of his house “show such an unwillingness to take note of realities”.

According to the police, a large number of the people gathered did not wear mouth and nose protection and only partially kept the required distances. The officers established the identities of those still present. In addition, a complaint was filed on suspicion of violating the Assembly Act.

Söder: Lockdown needs to be tightened

Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) assumes that the restrictions on the corona lockdown, which is limited to January 31, will have to be widened in places. “We have to extend the lockdown that we have now and deepen it in some places,” said Söder on Saturday at the digital New Years reception of the North Rhine-Westphalian CDU. According to a spokesman, with the extension, the Prime Minister referred to the new corona rules that will apply in Bavaria from Monday. (Editor’s note: Söder’s formulation had been interpreted by the dpa news agency and in an earlier version of this article, both in the text and in its heading, that Söder had spoken out in favor of extending the lockdown beyond January 31. In the evening first a Söder spokesman contacted the dpa to correct this.)

Söder said too many people were still looking for loopholes in the agreed corona restrictions or were discussing individual measures. Many presented themselves as victims of the pandemic. The real victims, however, are the nearly 40,000 deaths in connection with the virus. “It’s a little stab in the heart every time.” Söder promised to fight for every life. “Every day is a new test.”

Söder said he understands the anger many people are having about the measures, especially from business. The promised economic aid should finally come. “It’s been taking a long time, and some things seem very bureaucratic.” The November aid payments should not finally come until next week. “But we’re in January.”

500,000 people vaccinated in Germany

According to Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), more than 500,000 people in Germany have been vaccinated against the coronavirus so far. “It works better and better,” said Spahn in a discussion at the Federal Ministry of Health. The head of the Robert Koch Institute Lothar Wieler added that the contact restrictions still have to be followed consistently.

Merkel: The most difficult weeks are coming

Chancellor Angelas Merkel (CDU) advertised in her podcast published on Saturday again for the corona protective measures extended and partly tightened by the federal and state governments. The measures are “tough, but also imperative,” said the Chancellor. Merkel made the duration of the corona measures dependent on their implementation: “The more consistent we are today, the faster we will be able to restore the state of control, the shorter the time we will have to live with such restrictions.”

She sees the coming winter weeks as the most difficult of the pandemic. “Doctors and nurses in many hospitals are working on the verge of being overwhelmed,” she said. “Even what we hear about mutations in the virus does not reduce concerns – on the contrary,” said Merkel. But prudence and consideration would pay off.

The start of vaccinations makes her hope that the restrictions will end soon. The aim is to reduce the number of new infections very significantly so that the health authorities can understand the new infections again. The Chancellor was confident that the pace of vaccination would increase. There will be enough vaccine to offer everyone in Germany a vaccination. Merkel went on to say that it was right to procure the vaccine at European level. “No country, including Germany, would be safe from the virus if it weren’t for its friends and neighbors,” stressed the Chancellor.

In Germany, the number of confirmed infections with the coronavirus increases by 24,694 to 1,891,581 within a day, according to data on the website of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). The number of deaths increases by 1,083 to 39,878. On Friday morning, the number of reported deaths in connection with the coronavirus had reached a new high: within one day, the German health authorities reported 1,188 new deaths to the RKI.

Which rules the individual federal states prescribe

The corona measures agreed by the federal and state governments will apply in Hamburg from Friday, and in Berlin, Lower Saxony and Thuringia from Sunday. Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Bremen, Brandenburg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein are expected to follow on Monday. A decision is still to be made in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Although the measures were decided by the federal government and the federal states, they are not the same in all federal states. An overview:

Contact restrictions: Your own household can meet with one other person. Children are usually not considered an exception either. Notwithstanding this rule, children in Brandenburg, Saxony, Bremen and Baden-Württemberg should be excluded from the maximum number of persons, in Berlin children of single parents and in North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Rhineland-Palatinate smaller children. Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg want to allow care communities with another family. Schleswig-Holstein makes an exception for the care of children and dependents in need of care, Lower Saxony for people with disabilities and children from separated parents.

Schools and daycare centers: Schools and daycare centers remain closed. For childcare, however, parents are given paid leave during the period mentioned. In schools, emergency care and offers for distance learning apply. There are deviations in Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse. Here the schools remain open, there is no compulsory attendance for grades 1 to 6.

Hamburg students who cannot study at home are also allowed to go to school. Baden-Württemberg wants to reopen primary schools and daycare centers from January 18, depending on the infection rate, and allow face-to-face lessons for final classes. In Berlin, lessons in small groups for the final grades 10, 12 and 13 should be possible from Monday.

Bremen suspends compulsory schooling and lets parents decide whether to send their children to school. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, daycare centers and schools up to the 6th grade should generally remain open if parents cannot look after their children at home. The graduating classes should be able to go back to school from Monday.

Hotspots: In counties with more than 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week, people should not move more than 15 kilometers from their place of residence without good reason. Baden-Württemberg is not currently planning a corresponding rule. In North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony, municipalities should decide on this. In Thuringia, a corresponding regulation, which was planned as a recommendation in the ordinance, is still being discussed. Rhineland-Palatinate wants to coordinate measures in hotspots closely with the municipalities.

Saxony decides to lockdown until February 7th

In the fight against the corona pandemic, Saxony is relying on a lockdown until February 7th and thus goes beyond the stipulations of the federal-state switchboard. There was talk of extending the lockdown until the end of January. Accordingly, daycare centers and schools in the Free State will remain largely closed until February 7th. Contacts are restricted, but Saxony wants to allow exceptions for childcare. The cabinet decided on Friday in Dresden. Saxony’s Minister of Health Petra Köpping (SPD) spoke of continued “worrying numbers” in the Free State.

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