Berlin Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) wants to discuss how to proceed with the corona pandemic with the prime ministers of the states next week and not as planned on January 25. Merkel made this clear on Thursday evening in the online meeting of the CDU presidium in preparation for the CDU election party convention on Friday and Saturday, according to information from the German press agency from several participants.
According to Handelsblatt information from regional circles, there is actually talk of bringing forward the federal-state round. A decision has not yet been made, however, that depends on the question of whether an agreement on further measures is realistic.
In the coming week, the development of the pandemic should also be discussed at European level with all EU heads of state and government, the Chancellor said after this information.
At the moment there is simply no room for openings. The variant of the coronavirus that has emerged in the UK is spreading much faster than the original form, scientists are very concerned. Everyone believes that the virus mutation is very aggressive and that its spread must be slowed down. What is required is “very quick action”.
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In addition, according to an analysis by the Robert Koch Institute, the behavior of German citizens in the second corona lockdown is still too inconsistent to get the pandemic under control in a timely manner. The previous pandemic rules do not go far enough for the Federal Institute either.
“These measures that we are taking now – for me it is not a complete lockdown,” said RKI President Lothar Wieler on Thursday. “There are still too many exceptions and it is not strictly enforced.” With a view to the more contagious mutations of the coronavirus, he added: “There is a possibility that the situation will get worse.”
Meet on Monday or Tuesday
According to further information, Monday or Tuesday of next week are being discussed as the date for the next Prime Minister’s Conference with Merkel. But there has not yet been a determination. The Hessian Prime Minister Volker Bouffier said after this information that the next meeting should take place as soon as possible. One focus of the consultations must be placed on old people’s homes.
According to several participants, she rejected a report in the “Bild” newspaper, according to which the Chancellery is considering the discontinuation of local and long-distance public transport.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said at the meeting that they were in the worst phase of the pandemic. Abroad, too, you can see that corona vaccinations would not have prevented a lockdown. Union parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus praised the fact that the Bundeswehr was deploying 10,000 more soldiers to fight the corona pandemic.
More than 25,000 new Covid cases on Thursday
So far, according to the RKI statistics, it has not been possible to massively reduce the infection rates in Germany. The institute reported more than 25,000 new Covid cases on Thursday. This means that despite small bright spots that do not yet show a trend, the plateau is much too high.
The receipt for the high number of infections for weeks is available every day in old people’s and nursing homes, in intensive care units and when looking at the number of deaths. With 1,244 people, as many deaths were reported within 24 hours on Thursday as never before since the beginning of the pandemic.
The RKI therefore considers a stricter lockdown based on calculation models to be sensible. Rules that lead to fewer contacts should be tightened, said epidemiologist Dirk Brockmann. “All models agree that this has to happen more massively and more effectively.” Germany must enter a phase in which the incidence is falling substantially and rapidly. Like in spring.
Kretschmann for “further and more stringent measures”
Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) already wants to advocate “further and more stringent measures”, he announced on Thursday. He would advocate an earlier meeting of the prime ministers with Chancellor Merkel.
“The aspect of the dead depresses me enormously,” said RKI President Wieler. “We find very many in nursing homes and old people’s homes.” The facilities should be better protected. Eugen Brysch, board member of the German Foundation for Patient Protection, finds clearer words. “The many infections and high death rates among the 900,000 nursing home residents are mainly due to poor hygiene,” he criticized.
There are hardly any external controls by the health authorities and there are still no mandatory tests before each start of work and visit. “That is the toxic mixture.” So far, the federal government, the federal states, the municipalities and the local institutions have failed in this vital task.
Sunday trips hardly decreased in December
Inconsistent compliance with the pandemic rules in Germany can have many faces for Wieler: For example, companies that have good hygiene concepts for their offices – but then large groups of colleagues meet for lunch in the canteen. “We need more responsible employers,” he warned. And home office wherever possible.
But it also needs more responsible citizens. According to the RKI mobility analysis, for example, Sunday excursions in December hardly decreased – very different from the first lockdown in spring. There were fewer long trips at Christmas, but overall mobility only decreased by ten to 15 percent compared to the previous year, according to Brockmann’s analysis. That is not enough.
“There is room for improvement in all areas,” said Wieler. He paints a picture of the behavior in the country: “It’s like standing in the rain, not opening the umbrella and then saying afterwards that the umbrella doesn’t work.”
Mutation situation in Germany cannot yet be assessed
At the moment, according to Wieler, the mutation situation in Germany cannot yet be assessed. But one thing is clear: travelers from Great Britain and South Africa brought the more contagious virus variants with them. So far there are around 20 documents in Germany. Therefore Wieler’s appeal: Please, if possible, do not travel!
To protect everyone, it is also about rules that the RKI boss has been repeating like a prayer wheel for weeks: meet as few people as possible and if so, then best outside. Keep your distance, wear masks, wash your hands. Stay at home and work at home wherever and whenever possible.
Vaccination as a way out of the pandemic will take time. With 840,000 people, around one percent of the population is now vaccinated, said Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU). This is how the way out of the pandemic began.
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