Federal emergency brake being forced through
The consultations around nationwide uniform restrictions in the fight against Corona are on the home stretch after talks late in the night. The German Press Agency learned this on Tuesday morning from various participants. The cabinet now wants to decide on an amendment to the Infection Protection Act, which sets nationwide uniform restrictions for areas with high infection rates. Planned were exit and contact restrictions, requirements for the closure of stores, restaurants, cafes and recreational facilities, as well as requirements for schools. They are to take effect if the incidence in a county or city exceeds 100 for three consecutive days. That means that within one week, there are more than 100 newly infected persons per 100,000 inhabitants. In addition, the federal government is to be given more rights of intervention by decree.
The following measures are noted:
- Hard, regional lockdown if threshold of 100 is exceeded for three consecutive days
- Private gatherings will be limited to members of a household and one other person (including children up to age 14)
- Curfews from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., with exceptions for emergencies or work-related reasons.
- Sports will be very limited, with a maximum of two people.
- All stores will also have to close - with the exception of grocery stores, pharmacies, drugstores, gas stations, bookstores and garden centers.
- Cultural and leisure facilities such as swimming pools, theaters, etc. will also have to close. Drive-in movie theaters, museums, exhibitions, memorials, and zoological and botanical gardens, however, may remain open.
- The food service industry will remain closed. Pick-up and delivery of food is allowed, however.
- Services involving physical proximity are prohibited. Those serving medical, therapeutic, nursing or pastoral purposes and hairdressers are exempt.
- If it is below the incidence level of 100 again for five days, the measures may be waived. If it is above for three days, they come back into effect.
- Schools and daycare centers may only remain open if the incidence is below 200. Even then, students may only attend classes if they test twice a week.
The intensive care association Divi called on politicians to pass the emergency brake as quickly as possible this week. The number of Corona intensive care patients is increasing faster than already expected. As many as 6000 could be reached by the end of April - as many as at the peak of the second wave. If the law is not passed until the end of April, the number of patients will rise to 7000, said the president of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, Gernot Marx, to the "Augsburger Allgemeine".
On Tuesday, the 7-day incidence nationwide rose to 140.9. The last time there had been a higher value was three months ago, on January 15. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), there were also 10,810 new Corona infections and 294 new deaths within one day.
The new rules for a nationwide mandatory emergency brake should be passed by the Bundestag and pass the Bundesrat in an accelerated procedure if possible. In addition to the amendment to the Infection Protection Act, an amended Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance with an obligation for test offerings in companies should also be submitted to the cabinet. The draft ordinance calls for companies to make tests available on a mandatory basis, usually once a week. Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) wanted to comment on this in Berlin this morning.
The tough wrangling over the federal emergency brake was accompanied by partly critical statements from the states. Schleswig-Holstein's Minister-President Daniel Günther (CDU) supports the principle of uniform federal measures, but he told RTL: "If there is not such a crackdown everywhere, I can absolutely understand that the federal government will then also say that we need such a law. However, he saw a need for improvements to the draft. "There are regulations in there that we cannot support."
Berlin's governing mayor Michael Müller (SPD) was particularly opposed to nighttime curfew restrictions. "It is certainly correct to reduce contacts as far as possible, both indoors and outdoors, and to limit them to what is necessary," the chairman of the Conference of Minister Presidents said on RBB's "Abendschau." But: "Going for a walk alone or in pairs in the evening is not a great danger."
Image by Alexey Hulsov