Germany returns to the infection exit box

Correspondent in Berlin



The cumulative incidence rate In the last seven days, this Monday reached 201 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, which represents a new record of infections since the beginning of the pandemic and the return to the starting box in the fight against the spread of the virus. The preceding record of 197.6 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, it dated from December 22, 2020, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), which attributes the rebound to two causes: the lack of restrictions and the stagnation of the vaccination campaign below 70%. “For the unvaccinated there is a high risk of becoming infected in the coming months,” warns Lothar Wieler, director of the RKI.

The parties negotiating a future governing coalition, probably under the leadership of the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, are preparing a package of measures to stop this fourth wave, once the government has been formed and the emergency law passed last year and in force until November 25 expires. According to the press, the parliamentary groups of Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals, who have a parliamentary majority in the new Bundestag, finalize a bill to replace the emergency law which expires on November 25. They have already advanced that they have no intention of prolonging this exceptional situation and that they will not make the vaccine mandatory, not even for hospital personnel, for fear that workers in the sector may choose to go to work in other countries. What they are preparing is a regulation that provides “a strong legal basis” for protection measures against the virus, in statements by the head of the Greens Annalena Baerbock.

The bill, whose objective is to establish a base of measures against the pandemic in the medium and long term, will regulate issues such as the offer of free tests, the punishment of fraud with vaccination certificates and the promotion of the vaccination of the elderly with the third booster dose . It will also allow the Bundesländer to impose a catalog of measures relating to masks and safety distances, which may be in force until March 20, 2022, and will provide the necessary means to generalize the third dose, which means reopening the vaccination centers that had closed in September. Given the urgency of the situation and that the government formation negotiations still have several weeks left, the Social Democratic, Liberal and Green parliamentary groups have decided, in an unprecedented initiative, to jointly introduce the project in the Bundestag next week, although there is still no definitive government agreement.

As for the regulation called 2G, which only allows access to closed spaces to those vaccinated and cured of the disease, for the moment it is discarded and “it only makes sense where the incidences are especially high”, according to the draft project. But even if it is not implemented at the federal level, some of the Bundeslasnder are in favor of applying it, such as Bavaria. In the eastern state of Saxony, where the incidence rate is 491.3More than double the national level, unvaccinated people face the new restrictions as of today and the result obtained will serve as a reference for the rest of the regions.

The vice-president of the Greens, Ricarda Lang, has argued that the 2G regulation “increases the pressure on those who, in disagreement with solidarity, still do not want to be vaccinated” and has advocated making the 3G rule, which allows access to vaccinated, cured and tested, is mandatory in the workplace. “I think it’s also about expanding protection at workfor those who are vaccinated“, has said.

The new protection strategy will once again be based on massive, free testing. The idea of ​​pressuring unvaccinated people through paid testing has not been successful. “The opposite has happened, that is, in general fewer tests were carried out, while a significant rebound in vaccines has not been seen.” The leader of the liberal parliamentary group, Marco Buschmann, has also spoken in favor of the reintroduction of free trials.

The current Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, has been participating in the deliberation on this new catalog of measures, despite the fact that he does not belong to any of the parties that negotiate the tripartite and that will present the law to parliament. «The minister also sees that it is correct to reintroduce the free tests, as he has made us know in a very constructive exchange with the partners of the future coalition ”, confirmed sources of the Ministry.

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