Federal Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) reacted in disbelief to the fact that Berlin’s Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district categorically rejects the Bundeswehr’s help in tracing corona contacts, despite the rapidly increasing number of infections. That poses the risk of exacerbating the situation for all of Berlin, the CDU leader told the Tagesspiegel. Everywhere the help of the soldiers is gratefully accepted.
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) also criticized the district’s refusal. At some point, employees at the health authorities will reach their limit as the number of infections increases. “That is why we also support the federal government, for example with Bundeswehr soldiers, for example from the Robert Koch Institute”, Spahn said Wednesday evening about the ARD program “Extra” about the corona situation. “It is also surprising when a health department here in Berlin-Friedrichshain for ideological reasons does not want help from the Bundeswehr in the middle of the pandemic.”
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“I have no idea that red-red-green has a greater chance of rapidly increasing infections, that infection chains cannot be detected or contained, than seeking help from the armed forces,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer. “And that only for ideological reasons.” Whoever decides that “must answer if patients can no longer be treated because, for example, ventilation places in hospitals are missing, if children cannot go to school and your parents may lose their jobs”.
Soldiers are already deployed in 11 Berlin districts, often used to monitor contacts with infected people, often over the phone or through IT, or in testing teams. So far, 180 will be added to the 60 soldiers.
Only Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg does not want to fall back on it – although the number of new infections there is very high, repeatedly exceeding the critical upper limit of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days.
Soldiers support the Berlin health authorities. They help identify contacts of Covid-19 patients, only in … Photo: District Office Mitte
Left: “Bundeswehr from the health authorities”
In August, the Berlin regional association of the Left Party had reached a decision on an application entitled “Bundeswehr from the health authorities”. A “creeping blending of civilian and military competences” must be clearly rejected for reasons of democracy preservation and given the “experience of German militarism,” it says.
[290.000 Leute, 1 Newsletter: Den Tagesspiegel-Newsletter für Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg gibt’s hier – voller Debatten, Ideen, Tipps und Terminen: leute.tagesspiegel.de]
Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg shows that the health authorities can do their job without the military. The district had already refused to support the first wave of contamination. However, because the cancellation came too late, five soldiers initially showed up to begin their service. They then moved to the Mitte district office.
15,000 soldiers were deployed in Corona
Kramp-Karrenbauer emphasized: “As the Bundeswehr, we have set up a Corona contingent with a total of 15,000 men. Wherever we are needed and this fits our legal situation, we help.” The Bundeswehr also helps with fever clinics and tests – as in the case of the Corona outbreak at the Tönnies meat factory.
Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU), can hardly believe the behavior of the Berlin district Photo: dpa
The Secretary of Defense stressed, “We are not pushing our aid.” But the people in Berlin certainly expected those responsible to see to it that the civilian forces would immediately get out of other Berlin administrative offices. “Just to say, we don’t care, that’s not enough,” stressed Kramp-Karrenbauer.
The SPD faction in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district assembly made an urgent request for the next meeting next Thursday to make the aid possible. “The administrative units involved in the containment measures have been working at the limit of their capabilities for months,” the application said.
If the ban on the Bundeswehr continues, people would have to be withdrawn from other units. The consequences would be “new gaps” in the provision of services to citizens elsewhere.