In the fight against further rising infection figures, politicians are increasing the pressure on the unvaccinated. The CDU/CSU and SPD candidates for chancellor, Armin Laschet and Olaf Scholz, are clearly in favor of charging for Corona tests from autumn onwards. Scholz told the South German Newspaper on Sunday, "It is important to me that those who do not want to be vaccinated continue to have the opportunity to participate in public life via tests."
However, he said, the general public will not pay for these tests "in the long run." "I think in the fall they will become chargeable for all adults for whom there are no health reasons against vaccination."
A good month and a half before the federal election, the chancellor candidates of the CDU/CSU and SPD thus share similar views on a key issue of pandemic control. On Tuesday, the state premiers will meet with the federal government to discuss how to proceed. Difficult talks are expected.
CDU leader Armin Laschet had previously spoken out in Bild am Sonntag against putting people who tested negative for the coronavirus at a disadvantage compared to those who had been vaccinated. "Anyone who is vaccinated, recovered or tested must not be excluded by the state from participating in social life," Laschet said. The "3-G rule" (vaccinated, tested, recovered) has "proven to be sensible, moderate and feasible".
But anyone without vaccination protection would have to reckon with "everyday tests no longer being paid for by the taxpayer" from the fall onwards. Scholz explained that in addition to "vaccinated" and "recovered," "tested" should continue to be open as a path.
Laschet's party colleague, Union faction leader Ralph Brinkhaus, on the other hand, doubted in the Welt am Sonntag that the unvaccinated, but tested, would continue to be granted the same rights for a long time. He assumes that this will regulate itself in the fall, "because hoteliers, clubs, organizers will say: Sorry, with me you come only with a test no more inside".
The debate is likely to be fueled by a decision of the first division soccer club 1. FC Cologne, which from the end of August only wants to allow vaccinated or recovered spectators into the stadium. Brinkhaus said: "I think the pressure from the vaccinated part of the population will increase enormously. And that is completely understandable."
From the opposition comes criticism. Stephan Thomae, vice chairman of the FDP parliamentary group, told the SZ: "Politics should not simply leave the decision to entrepreneurs and traders." He also thinks it is a mistake to make corona tests chargeable. They are still too important in the fight against the pandemic, he said, so hurdles should not be erected. Green Party co-leader Robert Habeck told ZDF television, "I'm in favor of keeping them free."
Vice Chancellor Scholz expressed hope ahead of the conference of state premiers that Germany would get through the fall and winter better this time thanks to vaccinations. "There should be no further lockdown," he told the SZ. Classroom attendance at schools has a "top priority."
Image by Frauke Riether