The federal and state governments agreed on Tuesday to extend the lockdown that was decided in mid-December until January 31, and to tighten it in parts.
According to the decision paper of the round of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Prime Minister’s Conference, this applies Extension of the lockdown also for schools and daycare centers. “This is a great challenge for all parents and children,” said Merkel. “But we felt compelled to do so in order not to lose sight of our goal.” The measures are “tough but necessary”.
The goal is still to significantly reduce the number of infections and to get back to an average of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days. This incidence is currently around three times as much nationwide. Merkel and the country leaders prepared the citizens for longer-term cuts. “The months of January, February and March that lie ahead of us will still require considerable patience and discipline from everyone,” says the decision paper of the heads of the federal and state governments.
According to the agreements that apply from January 11th, the closure of shops, restaurants, cultural and sports facilities remains for another three weeks.
It will also continue in schools and daycare centers until the end of January, which has been in force in the federal states since mid-December. Sometimes the presence requirement is suspended, sometimes there have been complete closings.
There are also differences in the emergency care measures. In the next three weeks there will be no face-to-face teaching anywhere.
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The step-by-step plan agreed by the ministers of education with the return to face-to-face lessons for elementary school students or alternating lessons in higher grades begins accordingly in February at the earliest.
Comments on the lockdown extension
Relief for parents
For relief because of the Taking care of the children at home should be Child sickness benefit ten additional days per parent be introduced. As a result of the pandemic, there will be more childhood illness days for the parents who have to look after at home.
The general Contact restrictions are extended, as in the spring lockdown on one household plus one person. So far: one household plus one additional household, a maximum of five people. In this context, it was also decided that company canteens should be closed “wherever work processes permit”. Only the delivery of “take away food and drinks” is permitted.
Employers are “urgently asked” to create generous home office opportunities.
Narrow range of motion possible
Another tightening is the decision to impose local restrictions on nationwide Range of motion to be provided. In counties with more than 200 new infections, i.e. in real hotspots, it should be decreed that no one is further than 15 kilometers in a radius of your own place of residence – unless there is a valid reason to do so. This also applies accordingly to urban districts, including the large cities, which, however, are always one place of residence as a whole.
According to the decision paper, “day-trip excursions” are expressly not included: Merkel made it clear that this should prevent the mass movements that have recently been frequent in winter excursion areas. Good reasons, on the other hand, include trips to work. This regulation has been in place in Saxony for a long time, and the Thuringian Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) has just announced it for his state.
Michael Müller: No time for half-heartedness
Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller (SPD), currently also chairman of the Prime Minister’s Conference, appealed to the citizens’ perseverance. “Now is no time for half-heartedness, we must resolutely continue on the path,” he said.
The measures taken so far have had an effect, “but that’s not enough”. At the end of a “difficult but important conference of prime ministers”, Müller said that the continuation and tightening of the measures imposed was “undisputed”.
The tougher regulation required by the Chancellery in the preliminary talks on the possibility of Curfews is no longer included in the resolution paper. Merkel originally called for the threshold for such measures to be lowered to 100 new infections. After the decision in December, these also include local curfew, which are still possible from an incidence value of 200 new infections and have also been issued more frequently. According to the Tagesspiegel coronavirus map, this is now the case in 101 rural and urban districts.
Many circles affected
In total there are 294 districts and 107 independent cities in Germany. In these circles, freedom of movement can be severely restricted:
- Vogtland District (801.2)
- Meissen (504.2)
- Eisenach (429.5)
- Eastern Ore Mountains (408.8)
- Hildburghausen (401.2)
- Cottbus (348.2)
- Zwickau (336)
- Coburg (319.9)
- Nuremberg (310.6)
- Dresden (309.9)
- Bayreuth district (301)
- City of Hof (285.2)
- Limburg-Weilburg (259.4)
- Passau (257.3)
- Casting (253.6)
- Potsdam (241.5)
- Oberhausen (236.7)
- City of Fürth (223.1)
- City of Landshut (216.8)
- Stendal (206.3)
In particular, the Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) considers curfews to be an effective means for high numbers of infections. In Bavaria there is a general curfew between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., with exceptions for professional reasons or emergencies. It is similar in Baden-Württemberg and Saxony. In North Rhine-Westphalia, on the other hand, there is currently no state-wide order, but there are curfews at district level.
After the bang in the black-red coalition in the federal government because of the vaccination policy of Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), the supply situation with vaccines was also an issue in the group.
The SPD blames Spahn for the fact that too little vaccine has been ordered and that the coordination with the federal states does not work. In the decision, the federal government now promises the delivery of four million vaccine doses by February 1st.
In addition, it says: “The federal government will provide the federal states with reliable delivery times based on manufacturer reports in order to enable secure invitation management on site.” It is assured that all residents of care facilities can be offered a vaccination in January.
In addition, the federal government wants to talk to the manufacturers about how further production capacities for vaccines can be built up “as quickly as possible”. Biontech founder Ugur Sahin announced on Tuesday that “we can provide enough vaccine by summer” so that anyone who so wishes could be vaccinated.
Regarding the speed of the delivery of vaccine doses, which was also recently criticized from Berlin, the Governing Mayor Müller stated that the deliveries that have now been promised are the basis for reliably assigning appointments and ensuring planning security. He emphasized that Berlin was “well prepared” for this.