Wait for the report of the expert committee or decide on corona measures for the autumn now? This issue sparked a dispute within the traffic light coalition. A survey shows what people in Germany want.
The corona situation in Germany is easing – as was expected for the summer months. But in the traffic light coalition, thoughts are already revolving around autumn, when the next corona wave will probably spill over. When it comes to the question of when which measures should be decided, there are different ideas – especially between the FDP and the Greens.
Greens leader Omid Nouripour called for a rapid change to the Infection Protection Act in order to be prepared for the colder seasons – Vice President of the Bundestag Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Greens) also spoke out in favor of this on Saturday. The FDP politician Wolfgang Kubicki then recalled that there was a legal mandate to first professionally assess corona measures. Evidence-based decisions could only be made on the basis of a corresponding report.
Decide on Corona measures or wait?
These are the core questions that the two parties answer differently: first evaluate, then decide on measures, or rather not waste any time and create a legal basis for new corona measures right away? With the amended Infection Protection Act, general mask requirements for events or when shopping, as well as 2G and 3G access regulations, have been abolished since the beginning of April. For the time being, “basic protection” applies – for example with mask requirements in buses, trains, clinics, practices and nursing homes. Irrespective of state requirements, however, there are also further protection rules with mask requirements in many places, for example in cultural institutions. The current version of the law runs until 23 September. The German Association of Cities had called for the law to be amended before the Bundestag’s summer break in order to be prepared for Corona in the fall.
Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) criticized on Twitter on Sunday: “Some in politics are specifically looking for a dispute on the subject of Corona in order to distinguish themselves. That’s dubious.” The Prime Ministers’ Conference accepted the legal timetable: “Evaluate first, then decide.”
Karl Lauterbach points to a survey
On Tuesday morning, Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) spoke up via Twitter: “Good survey by the University of Hamburg on the attitude of Germans to Corona now. There are concerns about mutations. Many would probably support stricter measures in autumn, if they made sense. The citizens are more reasonable than parts of politics.”
The “Spiegel” article (paid content) linked by the Federal Minister of Health is about a survey by the Hamburg Center for Health Economics on the mood in eight European countries in view of the corona pandemic. According to the representative survey, two-thirds of Germans fear that new corona mutations will appear. 44 percent of those surveyed are more worried. This puts Germany in the middle. The survey also shows that many people in Germany want stricter measures. 49 percent of those surveyed are in favor of extending the isolation period to ten days with the option of being able to take a free test after seven days. 49 percent also feel it is wrong that infected people do not have to isolate themselves at all.
“Corona pandemic not over for many”
“The concern about another wave in the population is real and shows that for many people the pandemic is not over yet,” said Jonas Schreyögg, scientific director of the HCHE, according to the website for the survey. This is evident not only in Germany, but also in other European countries. “Earlier surveys have already shown that the Germans have a high level of acceptance of protective measures. That continues at this point. Nevertheless, it was surprising to us how high the proportion of those who wanted stricter regulations was,” said Schreyögg according to “Spiegel”.
Green health expert Janosch Dahmen countered Kubicki’s criticism with: “If something is unworthy, then it’s Mr Kubicki’s wait-and-see attitude. All coalition partners have a responsibility to take precautions.” The principle of hope is irresponsible in a pandemic. It is important to take precautions now so that everything does not have to be shut down and closed again in autumn and winter. “Citizens expect us to act with foresight and not sit back and relax. Precaution means that we are able to act quickly in the next wave. We should soon decide on measures that can be implemented if the situation deteriorates. “
“Check the effectiveness of previous measures”
The head of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV), Andreas Gassen, asked the traffic light coalition to check the effectiveness of the previous protection concepts before defining new corona measures for the fall. “Before measures are determined, an evaluation must first be carried out. What have the measures taken over the past two years achieved?” he told the editorial network Germany (RND/Montag). On the other hand, Bavaria’s Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) accused the traffic light of wasting valuable time. “Instead of regulating things and enabling smooth processes, the so-called traffic lights in Berlin cause confusion, uncertainty and standstill,” he told RND.
The committee of experts is to present its report on the corona measures by June 30th. Until then, the discussion about the right preparation for autumn will probably continue.