Is Germany well enough prepared for a corona wave in autumn? This question is rumbling in the traffic light coalition. The Greens are stepping up the pace, the FDP wants to wait for an evaluation first.
The debate about corona measures for the fall is getting hotter. Green leader Omid Nouripour called for a rapid change to the Infection Protection Act in order to be prepared for the colder seasons – Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Greens) spoke out in favor of this on Saturday. The FDP politician Wolfgang Kubicki then recalled that there was a legal mandate to first professionally assess corona measures. Evidence-based decisions could only be made on the basis of a corresponding report.
Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) criticized on Twitter on Sunday: “Some in politics are specifically looking for a dispute on the subject of Corona in order to distinguish themselves. That’s dubious.” The Prime Ministers’ Conference accepted the legal timetable: “Evaluate first, then decide.”
Nouripour told the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers (Online Sunday, Print Tuesday): “We need an agreement as soon as possible. The earlier we are prepared for fall, the better. States and municipalities need a lead time.” It is about not repeating the mistakes of the past two years. “The summer must not pass unused,” stressed Nouripour.
With the amended Infection Protection Act, general mask requirements for events or when shopping, as well as 2G and 3G access regulations, have been abolished since the beginning of April. For the time being, “basic protection” applies – for example with mask requirements in buses, trains, clinics, practices and nursing homes. Irrespective of state requirements, however, there are also further protection rules with mask requirements in many places, for example in cultural institutions. The current version of the law runs until 23 September. The German Association of Cities had called for the law to be amended before the Bundestag’s summer break in order to be prepared for Corona in the fall.
Nouripour explained: “You have to be able to increase the measures if an emergency develops. It starts with the obligation to wear masks and distance rules and continues with access rules such as 3G, i.e. for vaccinated, recovered and tested people.” What is needed is a legal basis that is adapted in such a way that what is necessary can be done on site. “As of now, we don’t even have a legal basis for a mask requirement,” said the Greens chairman.
Göring-Eckardt had also called for preparations for the fall – and warned the FDP not to slow down. Kubicki told the German Press Agency: “It is unworthy of a Bundestag Vice President to give the impression that the Bundestag cannot react quickly enough to the challenges of the pandemic.” He recommends that the Greens return to fact-based politics instead of continuing to pursue “fear-based politics.” Both Kubicki and Göring-Eckardt are vice-presidents of the Bundestag.
The Greens health expert Janosch Dahmen said: “If something is unworthy, it is Mr. Kubicki’s wait-and-see attitude. All coalition partners have a responsibility to take precautions.” The principle of hope is irresponsible in a pandemic. It is important to take precautions now so that everything does not have to be shut down and closed again in autumn and winter. “Citizens expect us to act with foresight and not sit back and relax. Precaution means that we are able to act quickly in the next wave. We should soon adopt measures that can be implemented if the situation worsens.”
The head of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV), Andreas Gassen, asked the traffic light coalition to check the effectiveness of the previous protection concepts before defining new corona measures for the fall. “Before measures are defined, an evaluation must first be carried out. What have the measures taken over the past two years achieved?” he told the editorial network Germany (RND/Montag). On the other hand, Bavaria’s Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) accused the traffic light of wasting valuable time. “Instead of regulating things and enabling smooth processes, the so-called traffic lights in Berlin cause confusion, uncertainty and standstill,” he told RND.
The Bundestag has stipulated in the Infection Protection Act that there should be an external assessment of the requirements in the context of the epidemic situation of national importance. A committee of experts was set up for this purpose, which, according to the law, is to submit a report by June 30th. Scientists from various disciplines belong to the committee. Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) recently stated that he was planning comprehensive precautions for a corona situation that was likely to become more tense again after the summer.