Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt abolish mandatory masks on buses and trains
In Bavaria the mask obligation in the public local passenger traffic is abolished to 10 December. This is no longer appropriate due to the current stable infection situation, it was said on Tuesday according to information from government circles. Accordingly, from December 10, there will only be a recommendation to wear the masks.
In Saxonia-Anhalt the mask obligation in buses and courses falls meanwhile already on 8 December. Saxonia-Anhalt sets thereby on more personal responsibility with the protection against Corona infections, it was said from government circles.
To protect against the transmission of infections with the corona virus, Bavaria had decided in April 2020, as well as other states, to wear mouth-nose coverings in public. As the number of severe corona cases declined, the requirement was gradually withdrawn. Public transportation, where crowding on buses and trains and physical contact among passengers is common, is still one of the last public situations where masks are mandatory in Bavaria.
The mandatory wearing of masks on public transport has repeatedly been a point of contention in public debate, including in Bavarian state politics. Most recently, the Free Voters had vehemently advocated its rapid abolition and insisted on its voluntary nature for citizens. Medical experts, on the other hand, are of the opinion that the mask requirement should remain or even be extended, since covering the mouth and nose not only protects against the transmission of coronaviruses, but also against other viral diseases, such as the influenza viruses currently circulating or the RS virus in children.
As recently as Monday evening, state health ministers had failed to agree on a new common line for further changes to the Corona protection requirements. Most of the states wanted to extend the mask obligation in public transport until the end of the year, some beyond. In some cases, the obligation was to become a recommendation, they said. For long-distance trains, the mandatory mask requirement is set by law nationwide until April 7, 2023.
In the consultation, among other things, Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) would have spoken out in favor of maintaining the isolation rules and the mask obligation. They expected an increasing number of new infections and would have pointed out the high mortality rate, especially among the elderly. The RKI sees no reason to change the previous recommendations on isolation. In the meantime, Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Schleswig-Holstein, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate have lifted the isolation requirement of at least five days for those tested positive, which the RKI still recommends.
Meanwhile, Robert Koch Institute (RKI) President Lothar Wieler believes the Coron outbreak situation at the beginning of this winter is better than before. "There is enough vaccine and medication against the disease, many people are vaccinated or were already infected with the virus, so the immunity situation is much more favorable," Wieler said in an interview with the F.A.Z. However, he continues to promote isolation of infected people and the wearing of a mask. To what extent this is implemented is "ultimately a political decision," Wieler said. Isolating oneself in case of corona disease "remains important to protect others," Wieler said. "It's equally important that people continue to wear masks, because that also keeps the number of respiratory illnesses in check."
Image by Kev