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‘Wrong assumption summer will be laid back’: Brinkmann warns of end of mask requirement – politics

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In view of the further critical corona situation, virologist Melanie Brinkmann warned against removing protective instruments such as the mask requirement. It is still “absolutely important” to avoid infections, the professor at the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research said at a hearing in the Bundestag on Monday. With further relaxation, the number of infections increased again.

With the openings, unvaccinated people who had previously been encapsulated would also get more in on the action. Even particularly vulnerable groups could not protect themselves one hundred percent.

Brinkmann said it was important to keep working instruments. This is known from the masks in areas where many people gather indoors. Uniform rules would be highly welcomed by society.

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Many are currently “of the mistaken assumption that the summer will be relaxed”. Although there was a seasonal effect in the summers of 2020 and 2021, there were strict measures at these times. If it picks up, the numbers could also rise in the summer.

Bonn virologist Hendrik Streeck said the pandemic was in another phase. There is an unprecedented number of infections, but the burden on clinics has been decoupled from this.

A man holds an FFP-2 mask in his hand (symbolic image).Photo: dpa/Sebastian Kahnert

With better weather in summer, a decrease in the number of infections can be expected. This is “a good time to prudently reduce measures” and get rid of those whose effectiveness has not been clearly proven. You mentioned access rules like 2G and 3G.

A few days before most of the corona restrictions expire, criticism of the federal government’s pandemic policy continues. “The position of the Federal Minister of Health is deeply contradictory,” said Eugen Brysch, director of the Foundation for Patient Protection, Germany’s publishing network.

“If the law passes as it was presented by the federal cabinet, all the work of the last two years will be obsolete,” Brysch said of the planned change to the Infection Protection Act.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the national seven-day incidence peaked again on Monday. The RKI gave the value of new infections per 100,000 population per week on Monday morning at 1543.0. For comparison: the day before the value was 1526.8. A week ago, the national incidence was 1,259.2 (previous month: 1,459.8).

The German health authorities informed the RKI of 92,378 new corona infections in one day. According to the new information, 19 deaths were recorded in Germany in 24 hours. A week ago there were 24 deaths.

On Wednesday, changes to the Infection Protection Act will be discussed in the Bundestag for the first time; most corona requirements nationwide will be lifted before March 20. Only two days later, the plenary will decide on the controversial draft of the federal Minister of Health, Karl Lauterbach (SPD), and the Minister of Justice, Marco Buschmann (FDP). Lauterbach and Buschmann propose a significantly reduced basic protection for all of Germany.

Politicians and experts are in favor of “improved” basic protection

At the national level, only mask requirements in nursing homes, clinics and local transport, and testing requirements in homes and schools should be possible. The mask requirement on trains and planes must also remain throughout the country. However, the federal states should be able to decide on further corona requirements for hotspots to be declared. However, in view of the rapid spread of the virus in recent days, many have doubts about this course.

[Lesen Sie auch: „Die Politik lässt das jetzt einfach laufen“: Virologe hält geplante Lockerung der Corona-Regeln für zu früh (T+)]

The president of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, considers the planned relaxation of the corona measures to be the wrong signal, he said on Monday in “Deutschlandfunk”. “It is difficult to understand why there should be a mask requirement in certain facilities, but not, for example, in retail, gastronomy, while you must wear a mask on local public transport. It’s not really consistent.”

Participation of those affected “a bit of farce”

Reinhardt also criticized the timing of the upcoming law change. “As associations we received the draft of this change to the Infection Protection Law at one in the morning and we should have taken a position at 10 in the morning,” said the President. “Regarding the participation of those affected, associations and facilities, institutions, this is perhaps a bit of a farce.”

Then there was an apology. But when it comes to laws that are not inconsiderable in scope, he says that it would be desirable for those involved to have enough time to examine them.

[Lesen Sie auch: Öffnungsdiskussionen trotz hoher Inzidenzen: Was, wenn Corona bald zum allgemeinen Lebensrisiko würde? (T+)]

Green health politician Janosch Dahmen now wants to campaign for a change in the government draft. “I am very much in favor of adapting the bill to reform the Infection Protection Act again and to maintain the obligation to wear masks indoors as a basic protection measure,” Dahmen told editorial network Germany.

Patient advocate Brysch also spoke out in favor of improving the mask requirement, but also in favor of the legal right to regular corona tests for those who need care outside of inpatient facilities and their relatives.

SPD leader Saskia Esken also advocated adequate basic protection, with masks in stores. “Spring is coming, but apparently Corona is staying with us,” said Esken of the German Press Agency in Berlin.

“In the new Infection Protection Act, we therefore need adequate basic protection that applies equally everywhere,” the SPD leader said. “This includes masks and 3G on local and long-distance public transport, as well as masks in retail. Countries must be able to react to local infections with broader measures.”

Corona partial vaccination applies from Tuesday.

The FDP, on the other hand, defended the proposal. The abolition of most of the coronavirus restrictions on March 20 is a great success after two years of the pandemic, said the FDP’s secretary general designate Bijan Djir-Sarai of the “Rheinische Post”. At the same time, countries remained able to act should the coronavirus situation deteriorate drastically again. “This combination of responsible action and an end to restrictions on freedom is exactly right,” he emphasized.

The federal states want to discuss the situation with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) on Thursday at a prime minister’s conference. Also on that day, requests for a general obligation to vaccinate will be discussed for the first time in the Bundestag.

The so-called facility-related corona vaccination obligation starts this week. Employees of nursing homes and clinics must present proof of having been vaccinated or recovered by Tuesday, or a certificate that they cannot be vaccinated.

In addition, a lower level of corona job security will apply in the future. To this end, the cabinet wants to adopt a regulation of the Ministry of Social Affairs on Wednesday. In future, entrepreneurs should be able to largely decide for themselves how they assess risk and what conditions should continue to apply in the company. (dpa)

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