The North Rhine-Westphalian Higher Administrative Court temporarily lifted a demonstration ban imposed by the state for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. A spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior confirmed a corresponding decision by the Münster court on Thursday. There was no confirmation from the court itself on New Year’s Eve. The WDR had previously reported.
The state government had in the Corona Protection Ordinance for December 31. and 1.1. Demonstrations are strictly prohibited. Behind this was the concern that registered gatherings could be misused to circumvent the ban on New Year’s Eve celebrations. The judges found this regulation to be illegal and disproportionate – the authorities could guarantee protection against infection even without the blanket ban on gatherings. “Theoretically, demos could still be registered with this today. New Year’s Eve celebrations in public spaces are still prohibited,” it says in a report by WDR.
The police stations in the country were therefore informed about the new legal situation shortly before the turn of the year, confirmed the ministry spokesman. Should demonstrations be registered at short notice, the police, as the supervisory authority, would monitor them accordingly.
RKI reports a slightly lower incidence value
The German health authorities reported 32 552 new corona infections to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within 24 hours. In addition, 964 new deaths were recorded, as the RKI announced on Thursday morning. However, the figures are only partially comparable with the values of the previous week. The RKI had expected a lower number of tests and fewer reports from the health authorities over the Christmas period. From the RKI’s point of view, the currently high numbers are therefore also due to late registrations. A week ago there were 32 195 new infections and 802 new deaths within one day.
The number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants (seven-day incidence) reported to the health authorities within seven days was 139.8 on Thursday morning. Its previous high was reached on December 22nd at 197.6. However, the differences between the federal states are enormous: The highest incidences on Thursday were Saxony with 326.7 and Thuringia with 246.5, Schleswig-Holstein had the lowest with 77.1.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the RKI has counted 1,719,737 detected infections with Sars-CoV-2 in Germany (as of December 31, 00:00). The total number of people who died with or with the involvement of a proven infection with Sars-CoV-2 rose to 33,071. The RKI stated the number of people recovered to be around 1,328,200.
According to the RKI report on Wednesday, the nationwide seven-day R value was 0.68 (Tuesday: 0.67). This R value means that 100 infected people theoretically infect 68 more people. The value represents the occurrence of the infection 8 to 16 days ago. If it is below 1 for a long time, the infection process subsides. In its report, however, the RKI emphasizes that at the turn of the year, corona cases are only displayed, recorded and transmitted with a delay, so that the R value may also be “underestimated”.
Calls after a long lockdown increase
Less than a week before the federal-state consultations on the lockdown, more and more officials and politicians are calling for an extension of the existing lockdown. The German Hospital Association (DKG) referred to the continued increase in patient numbers and warned of the clinics being overloaded.
“The numbers will decline from mid-January at the earliest, if the lockdown takes effect,” said DKG President Gerald Gass to the editorial network in Germany. “The hospitals’ clear demand on politicians is: The contact restrictions must remain beyond January 10,” Gass emphasized.
“Only the consistent and extended lockdown will determine the fate of the next few months and lead to lower numbers of infections,” said SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach in the Rheinische Post. With a look at the vaccinations that had started, he warned against leaning back. With the small amount of vaccine so far, there will be “no significant impact on the number of infections” until the end of March, warned Lauterbach.
The Saarland Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) told the newspaper that the lockdown “is and was necessary, and it will probably have to be extended at the beginning of January”.
Michael Müller (SPD), Governing Mayor of Berlin and Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Conference, apparently also does not rule out tightening the corona restrictions. “If the number of infections remains so high, then I assume that we will at least extend these measures that we have now,” he said on RTL / ntv with a view to the upcoming meeting of the federal states with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU ) on January 5th.
The current contact restrictions, which came into force on December 16, continue to apply until January 10. The aim of the nationwide restrictions is to reduce the number of new corona infections per 100,000 inhabitants to a maximum of 50 within one week.
Rejected many Germans after transit to Denmark at Sweden’s border
Hundreds of people from Germany were turned away on the journey to Sweden at the Danish-Swedish border and sent back home. Since December 22nd, there has been an entry ban from Denmark for foreign nationals in Sweden. The country wants to protect itself from the mutated corona virus that first appeared in Great Britain.
Since the entry ban has been in effect, almost 450 German citizens have been refused entry to Sweden, said a spokeswoman for the southern Swedish police of the news agency dpa. They are all travelers who have traveled through Denmark on their way to Sweden. Direct trips from Germany are not affected by the measure. “It is sad that people who have traveled far, have to turn back at the border, where travelers are 100 percent controlled and where special reasons are required for entry,” said the spokeswoman. Germans should therefore not travel via Denmark if they wanted to travel to Sweden.
A new variant of Corona had appeared in Great Britain, which may be more contagious than the previously known form. Several dozen infections of the new virus variant have so far been detected in Denmark, and Sweden and other countries have also discovered the first cases. The Swedish entry ban is provisionally valid until January 21, 2021. In total, between December 22 and 29, the Swedish police turned away almost 2,900 travelers on the border between Denmark and Skåne in southern Sweden, many of them those who came by car the Oresund Bridge. In a normal week, the border police refused entry to only about 100 people.