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“No reasonable fight against pandemics”: countries strongly criticize the new infection protection law – politics

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Ahead of Thursday’s prime ministers’ conference, several federal states voiced strong criticism of planned changes to the Infection Protection Act. “We cannot make a reasonable fight against the pandemic like this,” Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) said in the Bavarian state parliament on Tuesday. The governments of Lower Saxony and Baden-Württemberg also criticized the draft and called for changes.

“We in the state government agree that the envisaged law is insufficient,” Baden-Württemberg Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU) said in Stuttgart. With the draft, the federal government is “irresponsibly transferring responsibility to the federal states without giving them instruments to combat the pandemic.”

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“We are still hopeful that improvements will be made,” said Lower Saxony government spokeswoman Anke Pörksen in Hanover. But there were no such signs from the federal government. Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) has said several times that the government “is not happy” with the current version of the law and “that we would like to have more options for the most necessary protection measures”.

As a general rule, only basic protective measures

The new Federal Infection Protection Act stipulates that after the previous corona rules expire on March 19, there should generally only be so-called basic protective measures. These would be the mask requirements on local public transport and in nursing homes. A day before the Bundestag’s deliberations on the new Infection Protection Act, the traffic light coalition also agreed to extend regulations on the future obligation to wear masks to medical practices and rescue services.

However, other measures, such as the mandatory wearing of masks indoors, should only be possible at hotspots. The Bundestag will deal with the bill for the first time on Wednesday; then it will also be a topic at a prime minister’s conference with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) on Thursday. The Bundestag and the Bundesrat will decide on Friday.

Transition period until April 2 in many countries

At the same time, the bill provides for a transition period until April 2, during which federal states can still leave their current coronavirus protection measures in place. Many countries decided to use this option. This applied, for example, to Berlin, Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Lower Saxony, Hamburg, Bremen, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, as well as Hesse and Thuringia.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) defended the draft of the new Infection Protection Act and the planned hotspot regulation. “Politics is about finding a compromise that has to work,” he told ARD’s “Morgenmagazin.” He negotiated such a compromise with the Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP). Currently, measures at the national level are no longer easy to justify. The situation differs regionally.

Karl Lauterbach SPD, Federal Minister of Health, defends the new basic protection measures.Photo: Jürgen Heinrich/IMAGO

Some of the details of the new law are still unclear. The state party and the parliamentary group of the Union criticized, among other things, the ambiguous criteria to define the critical points. “The planned regulation of the hotspots is nothing more than hot air, because none of the activation criteria are clearly defined,” said the health expert of the Union faction in the Bundestag, Tino Sorge (CDU), the “Augsburger Allgemeine ”. Soon there will be a “mosaic of regional rules”.

More Corona news:

The Hamburg Senate also spoke of an inadequate draft. “The pandemic is far from over,” spokesman Marcel Schweitzer said. According to him, the Hamburg state government still considers at least a mask requirement indoors outside hotspots to be “necessary”.

The president of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, Andreas Gassen, advocated the continuation of the relaxation course in Germany. Despite the very high number of infections currently, there is no risk that the health system will be overloaded, he told the “Rheinische Post”. Society must “finally learn to live with Corona without politicians repeatedly shutting down public life every few months,” he added. (AFP)


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