The restrictions on citizens in the coronavirus crisis have been extended until at least mid-February. Now the number of cases is slowly falling. There are now increasing voices calling for an end to the lockdown, or at least a prospect. The deputy Union parliamentary group leader Georg Nüßlein called for such a strategy for a definitive end to the lockdown in mid-February.
“I do not think that you can strain people beyond the current level,” said the CSU politician the “Augsburger Allgemeine” from Saturday. “For the most part, people adhere to the applicable rules, but I also notice that the mood is changing.”
If the situation does not deteriorate drastically again in the coming weeks – for example due to a massive spread of mutated viruses – “then by mid-February at the latest we will have to take a different path than the previous one,” said Nüßlein.
Union faction vice Nüßlein doubts the incidence target
He also questioned the incidence target favored by the Federal Government and Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU): . “The incidence value indicates the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days.
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The current ARD Germany trend had shown before the weekend that almost every second person in Germany now feels heavily burdened by the Corona rules. In addition, the survey made it clear that public support for crisis management is declining.
Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) also spoke out in favor of an opening perspective after February 14th. Then schools and kindergartens should reopen “if it is responsible”, he said to the “world”. “Hairdressers should also be allowed to reopen. Then in March we could talk about retail. And after Easter also about the gastronomy. “
The closure of schools has been a very controversial issue since the first wave in spring. Union faction leader Ralph Brinkhaus warned against their opening too quickly. “We are all doing each other a disservice by allowing face-to-face classes too early. Health is the most important thing”, he told the “Passauer Neue Presse”. The new virus mutations made him “very worried”.
Söder’s coalition partner wants to open hotels and ski lifts
On Friday, the Bavarian Minister of Economic Affairs, Hubert Aiwanger, called for hotels and ski lifts to be reopened in February. Together, the economics ministers should “also demand these opening steps at federal level” and not “wait like rabbits in front of the queue again for what comes from Ms. Merkel and the Prime Minister’s Conference in Berlin,” said Prime Minister Markus Söder’s (CSU) coalition partner in Munich.
“With hotels, I see absolutely no reason not to be allowed to open,” said the Bavarian Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Chairman of the Free Voters. The Prime Ministers and the Chancellor should “accept that you don’t get infected in a hotel”. He is also convinced “that we can open the ski lifts promptly”. The Austrians showed that it was possible.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported a further decrease in the number of cases on Saturday. Accordingly, there were 16,417 new infections and 879 more Covid-19 deaths within one day. Exactly one week ago, the RKI had recorded 18,678 new infections and 980 new deaths within 24 hours. According to the RKI, the seven-day incidence was 112.6. The previous high was reached on December 22nd at 197.6. The number fluctuated after that and has been falling again for a few days.
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The nationwide seven-day R-value was 0.97 according to the RKI management report from Friday evening (previous day: 0.93). This means that 100 infected people theoretically infect 97 more people. The value represents the occurrence of the infection 8 to 16 days ago. If it is below 1 for a long time, the infection process subsides.
It was only on Friday that RKI President Lothar Wieler urgently warned against loosening too early. As before, the number of cases was too high, said Wieler at a press conference with Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn: “We must not let up now.” The country could only return to a “halfway normal everyday life” if the number of cases were massively and permanently smaller.
Medical President Klaus Reinhardt, who actually supports the lockdown, warned that the conditions might no longer be consistently adhered to by the citizens. “It is understandable that people are tired after ten months of the pandemic and that the corona protective measures are stressful,” said Reinhardt the Düsseldorf “Rheinische Post” from Saturday.
Medical President: Lockdown causes psychosocial stress
“As important and necessary as the measures initiated by the federal and state governments to contain the pandemic are, they also cause psychosocial stress in many people.” It is therefore important “that politics offer the citizens perspectives,” emphasized the medical president. This includes clear communication about vaccination capacities, which would increase in the coming weeks and months up to summer. A “more transparent procedure for developing anti-corona measures” is also important.
The former President of the Federal Constitutional Court, Hans-Jürgen Papier, is sometimes critical of the restrictions on freedom in the Corona crisis. “As a constitutional lawyer, I could never have imagined that such intense restrictions on freedom would be decided by the second power, the executive,” said Papier the “Nordwest-Zeitung” published in Oldenburg. “And I am amazed at how little the rule of law is valued in the political debate that the purpose – including the good of health protection – does not justify every encroachment on fundamental rights.”
“The people in this country are not subjects”
The principle of proportionality requires an accurate assessment of the suitability, necessity and appropriateness with regard to the achievable benefits of each measure, said paper. With some restrictions on freedom, such as a fixed range of motion of 15 kilometers, he had “considerable doubts as to whether they are necessary and suitable to contain the infection process”.
Paper, who headed the Federal Constitutional Court from 2002 to 2010, added that he was bothered by the fact that “some of those responsible in politics apparently think that in times of the pandemic one can make pretty much any restriction”.
The decision-makers were also primarily guided by the advice of natural scientists and listened too little to constitutional lawyers and experts who could say something about the social side effects of combating corona. “Politicians are also committed to protecting the freedom of citizens,” emphasized Papier. “The people of this country are not subjects. You also have to keep an eye on people’s economic, social and cultural livelihoods. These considerations cannot be unilaterally based on the advice of virologists. “ (with agencies)