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Bavarian Health Minister calls for masks to be worn by early May

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The hotspot rule for stricter corona measures continues to cause discussions in the federal states. There is great disagreement in state governments about whether or not the legal requirements to identify hotspots are currently met. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has already declared the entire state a hotspot at the end of April. Hamburg plans to do the same, even though the city-state has the lowest incidence nationally.

In view of the large number of new corona infections, Bavaria has called for an extension of the mask requirement indoors. Bavarian Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) told the “Augsburger Allgemeine”: “I would like us to have masks indoors throughout the country for four weeks after April 2.” After that, the situation could be reassessed.

Together with Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland, the federal state asked the federal government on Friday to quickly clarify open questions about the implementation of the hotspot regulation. This became one Special session of the conference of health ministers requested, which will take place on Monday. The above criteria for designating a corona hotspot are neither legally secure nor clear.

Meanwhile, the German Hospital Society expects a growing number of intensive care patients. Starting next Sunday, the obligation to wear a mask will only apply on public transport and facilities with vulnerable people. Holetschek said that, in his opinion, it should also continue in the commercial and leisure facilities.

The CEO of the hospital company, Gaß, told newspapers from the German publishing network that the situation in the clinics was particularly problematic due to a shortage of staff. “Three out of four hospitals have to limit services due to lack of staff. This is due to “infections, quarantine or care for children who have tested positive.”

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Ahead of the conference of health ministers on Monday, Bavaria demanded from the federal government uniform criteria at the national level for the application of the hotspot rule or an extension of the transition period. “The hotspot rules are too vague and don’t allow us to implement them in a legally secure manner,” Holetschek said.

At the weekend, the national number of corona infections detected since the start of the pandemic passed the 20 million mark. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) gave the seven-day incidence of new infections per 100,000 population on Sunday at 1723.8 and thus slightly lower than the day before (1758.4); however, data for Baden-Württemberg and Brandenburg are not included.

The number of new infections reported on Sunday was 111,224, a good 20,000 below the previous week’s value. On Saturday, 252,026 new infections were reported. The total number of corona deaths in Germany rose to 128,437.

Lauterbach: Use hotspot regulation in the federal states

Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach at a federal press conference on the current corona situationPhoto: REUTERS/Annegret Hilse/File photo

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) called on the federal states to use the remaining options for corona containment, including hotspot regulation. one to be determined Healthcare overload it can be measured by specific criteria, for example, whether planned operations need to be postponed or patients need to be transferred, the SPD politician said on Friday. Rules at the national level are no longer possible because the health system is not overloaded throughout Germany.

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The federal government’s decision to lift most of the corona rules was met with widespread protests in the federal states. After Transitional period until April 2 they can only impose more restrictions with more mask requirements and access rules if the state parliament determines a critical situation for access points.

There are no threshold values ​​for when this should take effect. Lauterbach announced that talks would be held with the federal states at Monday’s health ministers’ conference to make hotspot regulation feasible.

The vice president of the Federal Association of Physicians in the Public Health Service (BVÖGD), Elke Bruns-Philipps, warned in the dailies of the Funke media group: “The fight against the pandemic must not lead to an unmanageable patchwork quilt after the April 2.”

The president of the German District Association, Reinhard Sager, told the “t-online” portal that the toolbox in the Infection Protection Act had unfortunately been reduced. “Given the ever-increasing number of infections, hotspot regulation is too cumbersome.” Ask for more freedom of decision for the districts. The situation in the countries at a glance:

Planned hotspots: Hamburg and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania

On Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania the entire federal state is considered a hotspot until April 27. This was decided by the state parliament with the votes of the coalition factions of the SPD and the left, as well as the Greens. Specifically, the distance requirement, the mask requirement in indoor areas, and the testing requirement for unvaccinated individuals in hotels and restaurants remain in place.

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On hamburg The red-green coalition also plans to declare the entire city a hotspot and thus mandate the wearing of masks indoors, including in retail stores, for an initial four-week period. The citizenry should decide on a corresponding request from the SPD and the Greens next week. The CDU and the left are also in favor of maintaining the mandatory nature of masks.

Open decision: Bavaria, Brandenburg, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia

On bavaria and Brandenburg the governments want to discuss on Tuesday how the Corona rules will continue beyond April 2. The Bavarian state government has already requested clarification from the federal government in order to be able to apply the hotspot regulation with legal certainty if necessary.

the end Hesse The requirements to identify hotspots are said to be so high that, according to the state government, they actually amount to nothing. The current situation does not indicate a legally secure regulation.

Also in Rhineland-Palatinate and Schleswig-Holstein inquiries are still pending. The Kiel government also wants to consider a renewed hearing of its own expert council.

On thuringia the red-red-green minority government would like to extend the measures. However, the CDU recently made it clear that it did not want to support hotspot rules for either the state or individual districts. Therefore, it is unlikely that there will be a majority in the state parliament in favor of the extension.

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Hotspots are currently not planned in eight federal states

On Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia state parliaments have already rejected calls to declare the entire country a hotspot. The black-green coalition in Stuttgart considers the end of the measures a mistake. However, the Greens and the CDU no longer see any legal basis for a nationwide extension of the mask requirement and access restrictions.

The government similarly argues in lower saxony. “As soon as we see an opportunity to create a legally secure hotspot regulation in Lower Saxony, we will present it to the state parliament,” said Health Minister Daniela Behrens (SPD). However, we currently do not see this opportunity.

Striped in black, red and yellow. Saxony-Anhalt the CDU and the FDP reject an extension of the corona measures. On Saxony The government agreed that basic protection measures should remain in place from early April.

Also in Sedan, Bremen and in Saar one is preparing to end most protective measures, also because there are currently hardly any possibilities for hotspot regulation, as a government spokesman in Saarbrücken said. (dpa, afp)

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