They also followed the vote with their feet in the state chancellery and the Chancellery. Whether on the Maschsee in Hanover, in Hamburg on the Alster or on the Spree in Berlin, there was no sign of the current contact restrictions that a household may only meet one other person in the spring weather.
And the Lockdown frustration led to itthat long queues formed in front of cafes and restaurants, “the virus is happy, especially the B.1.1.7.-variant,” said a state chancellery.
To formulate an opening plan in this mood, which combines hope and pandemic containment, is very high government art. But the plan for the federal / state switchboard on March 3rd, which is once again more important this time, is slowly taking shape.
The A-side, that is the federal states governed by the SPD, has submitted the following proposal according to Tagesspiegel information: Four opening steps, including after the opening of elementary schools and daycare centers and from March 1 of hairdressers,
a) As already decided by the federal and state governments, the opening of trade, museums and galleries (each with a person limit) – if the number of new infections has been below 35 per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days for several days. That should be possible from March 8th at the earliest.
After that, b) the next opening step can take place two weeks later, for example for restaurants with a blocking period, for leisure and club sports, especially outside and in groups of up to 10 people and for example for indoor cultural events up to 150 people. The prerequisite is that the 7-day incidence averages below 35 for two weeks. In addition, there is more consideration – also in the gastronomy sector – between outdoors. and to distinguish inside openings.
Another two weeks later with the 35 incidence maintained C) there could be more extensive opening steps for hotels, clubs, pubs and larger cultural events.
And another 14 days later with a stable 35 incidence D) restrictions could then be largely lifted, but there should still be distance, hygiene and number of persons requirements for indoor events.
All steps should be supported by good hygiene concepts of a comprehensive rapid test offensive.
With the 2-week steps in the proposal, which was developed by the Berlin Senate, there should be enough time to determine the effects of the previously made openings on the infection process.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) had already indicated the 2-week opening steps in a ZDF interview. And it fits into the current federal / state negotiations that Merkel also proposed multi-stage package solutions for opening in the CDU presidium on Monday, although she has been skeptical of step-by-step plans. And with a nationwide incidence of 61 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days, due to the currently stopped downward movement, it can still take months until all opening steps are completed, in Great Britain, which is faster with vaccination, will be largely repealed at the end of June of the restrictions. Accordingly, Merkel continues to step on the brakes in parallel to opening perspectives, precisely because the development is currently turning into negative again due to the spread of B.1.1.7.
Merkel leads the “Prudence and Caution” team
“There is a legitimate longing for an opening strategy,” said the Chancellor, according to participants.
It is clear that with the first openings contact restrictions should also be relaxed, and Merkel also has the area of schools and vocational schools and the area of recreational sports, restaurants and culture in view in the opening sequence.
There is still no clear scenario for clubs and pubs. Chancellery chief Helge Braun (CDU) was concerned about the current sideways movement of the numbers and warned of a “yo-yo” effect, so opening up and rapidly increasing numbers. What do you do when restaurants stock up on a lot of fresh goods and then have to close again? Was asked in the Union. Almost at the same time, CSU boss Markus Söder emphasized in Munich that a triad was needed, “of vaccination, testing and relief”. The new rapid tests are a kind of safety barrier: “That’s why we need millions in Germany every day. And we need a reliable app to record test results. ”
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Dispute over too much data protection and too little vaccination speed
But that is exactly the problem, on the one hand there is currently no clear test plan. The Federal Ministry of Health is irritated by the chancellery slipping into the ground, the promised free rapid tests are now due to start on March 8th instead of March 1st as by Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU).
Also because many organizational questions have not been clarified. “Our plan can be implemented by March 1st”, Spahn’s ministry continues to emphasize. The idea of Chancellor Angela Merkel and Head of Chancellery Helge Braun (CDU) is to secure the federal and state resolutions planned for March 3rd with extensive rapid tests In the sense that, above all, there should be comprehensive tests for all facilities that are to be reopened, and possibly not quite as untargeted as with Spahn’s plan for anyone who wants to.
Since the decisions on this will not be made until March 3rd, such a coupled rapid test strategy could not come into force until March 8th. The plan is for the federal government to pay 18 euros per test and its implementation, or 1.8 billion euros for 100 million tests.
And second uncertainty factor: Where other countries like Israel secure openings with digital vaccination and test certificates, the Corona warning app in Germany has never fulfilled the hope associated with it.
“It is ineffective”; says a CDU board member. “We’re tripping up. If health instead of data protection had priority, we could also allow more opening, “a state chancellery complained about the app.
Because if, for example, a district with the incidence drops below 20, how can you prevent the openings from creating a suction effect and high numbers again? An app on which negative test results are stored could create more security and control here.
Since the vaccination will continue to be sluggish for weeks, the pressure is increasing to reline the opening with a new vaccination strategy. SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach emphasizes that the EU has the oldest population and that it cannot afford this vaccination rate for a long time in a third wave that is beginning.
Also because B.1.1.7. is deadlier. A “game changer” could only be a pragmatic move forward of the first dose for more people, so instead of three weeks between the first and second vaccination of Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna, six to twelve weeks were allowed, as the protective effect is very good after the first vaccination is high.
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The 35 communication debacle as a lesson
The various proposals must now be brought together by the internal coordination group known as the “gang of four”: Chancellor Braun, State Secretary for Finance Wolfgang Schmidt (SPD), the head of the Berlin Senate Chancellery Christian Gaebler (SPD) and the Bavarian representative, Karolina Gernbauer (CSU).
As always, everything is in a state of flux until a concrete proposal for a resolution is available in a week. One point is clearly evident in addition to the submission of an opening plan. Such a communicative debacle as with the 35 should not happen again. For many citizens, Chancellor Merkel’s sudden citing of this value for openings after the last round was completely incomprehensible, and confidence in the crisis management suffered considerably after the disappointments about the poor vaccination start.
For months there was talk of a 50s incidence for a gradual lifting of the lockdown. The value of 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days has been in the Infection Protection Act for months, but as an advance warning.
“We will not introduce any further incidence levels”, it is therefore emphasized in SPD circles that even lower values have not yet been up for debate. Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller also only wants to work with the 35 and 50 values and also demands that the opening strategy also take into account parameters such as the utilization of the intensive care beds, because the risk of overloading the health system has always been argued with the incidence limit values. The Berlin medical officers had also argued that incidences did not reflect the actual infection process. They are dependent on test capacities and people’s willingness to test.
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Easter trips hardly possible
It is still questionable whether specific data for the opening steps can already be given. Only one thing is clear: Large Easter trips are becoming increasingly unlikely in view of the infection situation and with opening steps, possibly with two-week breaks.
Especially since halfway positive incidences are reported for the German coasts and their islands, but if these were stormed by travelers from other federal states at Easter, one would quickly be in a closure scenario again. And that is exactly the horror scenario: to end up in the next lockdown with an opening plan