The October 14 resolution document should be one with a “historical dimension”, as Chancellor Helge Braun (CDU) put it. “The goal of all government measures in the coming weeks remains to control infection dynamics in Germany,” he said. From the perspective of the chancellery, the interim conclusion is damning, the corona situation is in danger of losing control.
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Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) had prophesied at the time that that would not be enough, we would be together again in two weeks. This prediction is now taking place. Next Wednesday, new consultations between the Chancellor and the 16 heads of state of the federal states, this time via video link, should work better. To this end, it has sent a draft resolution to the federal states, which has everything and is at the disposal of the Tagesspiegel: In the draft of Monday evening. 10:29 pm in the first sentence it is made clear that the October 14 meeting with resolutions for curfews and an extension of mask requirements was far too little, small screws should not be turned anymore: “Despite the measures taken by the federal and state governments two weeks have been agreed, the number of coronavirus infections (SARS-CoV-2) is now increasing exponentially in almost all regions of Germany. ”
Coalition politicians are talking about a kind of “breakwater blockage”, not as difficult as in the spring, but with enormous limitations. It should apply from November 4 to November 30, with a review by federal and state governments after two weeks. Merkel wants to keep contacts to a minimum: “That is why from now on residence in public is only allowed with members of your own household and those of another household.” There should be checks and fines.
The other points in the wording:
1. Citizens are asked to generally refrain from private travel and visits, including family members. This also applies to Germany and national day trips. Accommodation offers in Germany are only made available for necessary and expressly non-tourist purposes.
2. Institutions and facilities that can be used for leisure activities will be closed. These include theaters, operas, concert halls and similar settings; Trade fairs, cinemas, amusement parks and providers of leisure activities (indoor and outdoor), arcades, casinos, gambling shops and similar facilities; Prostitution centers, brothels and similar establishments; leisure and amateur sports on and in all public and private sports facilities, swimming pools and fun pools; Gyms and similar facilities.
3. Events serving entertainment are prohibited.
4. Restaurants and bars, clubs, discos, pubs and similar establishments are closed. This does not apply to the delivery and collection of take-away meals for consumption at home.
5. Personal care service businesses such as cosmetic studios, massage practices, tattoo studios and similar businesses will be closed as physical proximity is essential in this area. Medically necessary treatments, such as physiotherapy, are still possible.
6. Hairdressing salons remain open under existing hygiene rules.
7. The retail sector as a whole remains open, with due regard for hygiene, access control and avoidance of queues. It must be ensured that there is no more than one customer per 25 square meters of sales area in the stores.
8. Schools and kindergartens will remain open. Given the high number of infections, the federal states are taking further protective measures.
There are two ways to do things: brake hard like Merkel wants, or try to get the situation under control with small interventions, preferred by several countries. Merkel again increased the pressure on the prime ministers in advance, warning that Germany would be in situations. could come, “which are extremely difficult”.
New infections should drop to a third
In order to slow the momentum and keep the number of deaths from increasing, experts say it is necessary to reduce the number of new infections from the current 12,000 per day to 4,000. This requires a reduction in the number of contacts by 50 to 75 percent over a period of several weeks in order to achieve a significant trend break in December. Especially since there is growing hope that an effective vaccine could be available by early 2021.
How can this best be achieved? Which measures comply with the principles of proportionality and equal treatment and are therefore not collected by the courts like the housing ban? And will the citizens participate again? Merkel therefore wants to put a clear, understandable brake, as planned only for tourism, gastronomy and the entire leisure sector – also because the experience in the spring showed that this works best and is also legally valid. However, more help is also needed for the industries involved.
Disagree: the corona measures are increasingly polarizing the country Photo: Christian Mang
Break the wave, but how?
“The additional measures must be targeted, limited in time and targeted,” emphasizes Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Translated, this means: he shares Merkel’s line. This should also keep the economic damage lower than if the situation were to completely slip away and a hard, longer lockdown could become necessary – Germany also got through the first wave crisis well as most measures could slow the contagion rate, and because civilians were very disciplined. But the backlash against Merkel’s plans was strong beforehand. Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) says his red-red-green state government will not support any closure plans. Local infection development must remain the basis for decisions. The Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet (CDU), is also in favor of a clear tightening, he can mainly envision strict, general contact restrictions, an option being 5 people or two households. Schleswig-Holstein wants a contact restriction for a maximum of ten people, this will also apply to all areas outside for the next three weeks, says Prime Minister Daniel Günther (CDU). Another idea is a national curfew from 9 p.m. or earlier. But that’s not enough for Merkel.
The federal and state governments have so far agreed on these points in particular: the borders must remain as open as possible, even if the enormously high numbers in the neighboring Czech Republic are causing great nervousness in Bavaria. Shops and hairdressers must also remain open, because the risks here are manageable thanks to masks.
Likewise, the Bundesliga was able to continue to play thanks to functioning hygiene concepts. Recreational sports and whether larger events should be banned are much more controversial: in Berlin, the upper limits were first lowered to 500 outside and 300 inside.
The span is increasing
Merkel’s calls to drastically reduce contacts hardly seem to bear fruit, there is a degree of Corona fatigue, images so far not quite as dramatic as in March from Italy and growing protests. In cities like Berlin, numbers are now losing control over contact tracking.
The federal and state authorities had staffed the health authorities to get up to 35, up to 50 new infections per 100,000 residents in seven days, so the infected don’t infect too many other people. Because the system no longer works properly, most sources of contamination are also unclear, whether at school, in the pub or on the train: anything is possible.
You would currently need about 2.1 million tests per week, which is nearly a million more than is currently possible. Corona drugs such as Remdesivir are also becoming scarce in Europe. After all, some 37,000 positive tests have been reported to the Corona app so far, triggering many warnings, while health authorities are no longer compliant in many places.
However, since the R value – the value of how many other people a positive person infects – has recently been over 1.3 over and over again, the growth remains exponential and can reach the threshold of 20,000 new infections per day within a few days . Value that Merkel predicted for Christmas only.
In fact, more than two million tests per week would be needed to better control the situation. Photo: dpa
The buffer in the clinics is melting
Another number is also of concern: that of intensive care patients. 1,474 Covid 19 patients had to receive intensive care on Tuesday, 690 of whom were civil servants. Within a week, the number of intensive care patients rose by more than 60 percent. The previous record of corona-intensive cases was April 18 with 2,933 patients. The number of free intensive care beds has currently fallen below 7,700.
Unlike in France, these are still large reserves, but a dramatic situation could also arise in Germany. There is also a risk of a shortage of intensive care staff, especially if too many are absent due to infection or quarantine. After Easter was virtually canceled, from Merkel’s point of view it is also about saving Christmas with sharper cuts so that church services remain possible. But the situation shows that there is agreement on the goals, but not the ways to achieve them.
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Charité chief virologist Cristian Drosten demands: Now hit the brakes Photo: dpa
Lauterbach and Drosten for Merkel of course
Like Merkel, SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach is promoting a breakwater solution, a temporary closure of numerous facilities for two weeks, during which restaurants, bars, pubs, cultural venues, fitness studios and clubs are closed nationwide. In companies, home office in particular should be done. Charité virologist Christian Drosten is also in favor of a temporary lockdown. “If the load gets too big, you have to take a break,” he told NDR-Info. “This virus is non-negotiable,” said Drosten. “If we put the brakes on now, it would have a very lasting effect.” It takes about three weeks – from the scientist’s point of view, it takes a little more than a quarantine period. “The incidence is then significantly reduced and, under certain circumstances, also reduced in the long term.”