April 2 could become a kind of Freedom Day in Germany. Because the federal Minister of Health, Karl Lauterbach (SPD), rejected on Monday the federal states: Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and Saarland had asked for an extension of the Infection Protection Act so as not to have they take corona measures themselves. But the request was rejected. If the respective state parliaments do not meet for special sessions at the end of the week and decide on new rules, the restrictions will expire in early April.
That is why Lauterbach again on Monday advised his ministerial colleagues in countries with high numbers of infections to determine regional “hotspots” and link them to everyday requirements, such as the obligation to wear masks indoors. “We are wasting time. In my opinion, action should be taken now,” the SPD politician said. He made it clear that the new national legal basis for protection measures would not be changed again. The federal government had already given states a transition period until April 2, which most of them made use of.
countries would need to identify hotspots
Starting Saturday, in accordance with the Infection Protection Act, only some general protection rules, such as masks and tests, will be allowed in facilities such as clinics and nursing homes. However, federal states can impose more restrictions for regional hotspots, for example with more mask requirements and access rules, if the state parliament determines a critical situation there. Several countries complain that there are no legally secure criteria for this. FDP health expert Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus rejected this accusation. The state parliaments would certainly have the opportunity to react appropriately. “Anyone who claims otherwise shies away from responsibility.”
Lauterbach said: “I hope that even more federal states will use hotspot regulation.” Lauterbach said that if the tipping point rule is used, “the public will once again get the signal that not only is the pandemic not over, but we need to be careful.”
Several cabinets meet now this Tuesday. In Bavaria, despite high incidences across the country, there should be stricter rules across the board. “Hotspots will not be created for the whole of Bavaria. At least not in the foreseeable future,” Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) said. In Brandenburg, the cabinet will discuss the weekend provisions on Tuesday. In Thuringia, a special session of the state parliament is scheduled for Thursday.
Lauterbach lists four criteria for an access point
The thresholds from which a region is a hotspot are not quantified in the law. Lauterbach again gave four criteria by which this could be measured: whether clinics could no longer provide emergency care, due to too many coronavirus patients or staff shortages, whether they had to cancel planned interventions or transfer patients to other hospitals, and whether there were requirements. because a minimum of presence could not be met by the nursing staff. Lauterbach made it clear that he, too, would welcome more mask requirements in accordance with house rules, for example in supermarkets. However, this can only have a complementary effect. “Countries have the right and the duty to protect their citizens.” Supermarkets couldn’t make up for that.