Regardless of the new highs in the number of infections, the way is clear to end most of the nationwide coronavirus restrictions in Germany. In the future, the state parliaments will decide which corona rules apply in which regions. On Friday in Berlin, the Bundestag approved changes to the Infection Protection Act that had been introduced by the traffic light groups SPD, Greens and FDP. The opposition rejected the law. The previous Corona rules expire this Saturday. The Federal Council then approved the law.
Criticism from the traffic light rows
388 deputies voted in favor of the government bill, 277 against and two abstentions. The final debate was characterized by criticism of the new rules, which also came from the ranks of the traffic light groups. Health committee deputy chair Kirsten Kappert-Gonther (Greens) said it would have been better to keep the mask requirement across the board. Her group still agrees with the law, because otherwise all applicable rules would have expired.
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Stricter rules are possible at critical points
On the new legal basis, state parliaments can adopt basic protection measures and also impose stricter requirements for so-called hotspots by prescribing an extended mask requirement, distance and hygiene rules, as well as proof of 2G or 3G. The prerequisite is the spread of a new and dangerous variant of the virus in a region or the imminent overload of the health system due to high infection rates. The conditions that are decided according to the new legal basis may remain in force until September 23 at the latest.
The health policy spokeswoman for the FDP parliamentary group, Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus, said the new rules are “an important step towards normality”. At the same time, they ensured the capacity for action of the federal states. “Of course the pandemic is not over,” Aschenberg-Dugnus said. But there is a difference whether young or old are infected, and this difference must also be made with the rules. While masks are no longer mandatory in schools and kindergartens, they should still be enforced in nursing homes and nursing homes.
Lauterbach defends compromise
Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) defended the compromise. In the current phase of the pandemic, “we can no longer protect the entire country.” On the other hand, Germany “is not at the point where there could already be a Freedom Day,” Lauterbach explained, referring to the number of infections. . These had a new maximum on Friday with almost 298,000 infections in 24 hours. A Freedom Day, in which all the rules fall, “we can only achieve it by deciding on compulsory vaccination”, said the Minister of Health, who advocates compulsory vaccination from the age of 18.
CDU locates “entanglement”
The Union accused the stoplight coalition of creating new problems with infection control. The spokesman for health policy, Tino Sorgen (CDU), spoke of a “entanglement” and referred to the same criticism from the federal states. He complained that the law was poorly drafted and produced without the participation of the federal states, which would have to implement it. The law was to be discussed in the Bundesrat at noon and the federal states had announced that they would let it pass, despite their criticism. You can temporarily leave the rules that are still in effect until April 2, and then decide on the specifications according to the amended Infection Protection Act.
At the same time as the amendment to the Infection Protection Act, the Bundestag decided to extend the corona protection shield for social institutions until September 23. Rehabilitation clinics, convalescent homes for mothers or workshops for the disabled are thus insured against a possible loss of income if the federal states decide on corona rules that continue to restrict the work of the facilities. The Corona parental allowance rules will also be extended, which ensure that parents do not suffer any financial loss, for example, because they worked part-time due to Corona.
Seven-day incidence at peak
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the national seven-day incidence rose to a high of 1,706.3, after 1,651.4 new infections per 100,000 population in seven days the previous day. Health authorities reported 297,845 new cases in one day and 226 deaths were recorded. The RKI set the number of corona-infected people in hospitals per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days at 7.58 (Wednesday: 7.45). (agencies)