Relaxation has been decided in other European countries – and in Germany? The debate about opening steps is gaining momentum.
Berlin – Despite the further increase in the number of corona infections, the call for a concept for lifting restrictions is getting louder in politics.
Federal Minister of Finance Christian Lindner (FDP) told the “Spiegel”: “We are not yet behind the Omicron wave, but we have to work now on when and under what conditions there can be gradual openings.” The next federal government -country round in February should deal with it.
You need effective health protection, says Lindner. “The contagious omicron variant poses a challenge. For us liberals, however, it is true that restrictions on freedom are only justifiable to the extent required by the situation.”
Opening perspective important
SPD faction deputy Dirk Wiese told the German Press Agency on Sunday that during the consultations between the federal and state governments last Monday, a necessary prospect of opening had rightly already been promised. “The federal and state governments are required to do this together. In this context, advice must be given at an early stage, with the involvement of the Federal Government’s Expert Council, as to which sectors and areas may come under this first.”
Deputy Union parliamentary group leader Sepp Müller (CDU) told the dpa: “The omicron wall will reach its highest level in the next 14 days. Everyone involved must use this time to outline opening steps with a sense of proportion. “In my opinion, the lead time for gastronomy and the event is four weeks.” Here he expects suggestions from the expert council – Müller mentioned, among other things, the question of whether a return to 3G is possible, i.e. access for vaccinated, recovered and tested people.
Retail is pushing for the abolition of the 2G rule
Lindner also said he was hoping for advice from the Federal Government’s expert council. “Restrictions can be decided quickly, but ramping up requires preparation. You can change the 2G regulations very quickly in retail and gastronomy, but in other areas you need planning horizons. I’m thinking of trade fairs, the event industry, the cultural sector, which need this lead time. My concern is to create an expectation perspective, under which conditions and in which steps what is possible.
The resolution paper from the federal and state governments on Monday said that opening perspectives should be developed for the moment when an overload of the health system can be ruled out. The next consultations are planned for February 16 – unless the further course of infection makes an earlier meeting necessary.
The seven-day incidence of new infections has meanwhile risen to a new high. According to information from Sunday morning, the health authorities reported 118,970 new infections to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within one day. The value of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants and week rose to 1156.8 – the day before the nationwide incidence was 1127.7, a week ago it was 806.8. Experts assume that there will be a high and increasing number of cases that are not recorded in the RKI data, partly because testing capacities and health authorities are at their limits in many places.
Less severe course of the disease
“Contrary to what was feared, fortunately we are not seeing any increase in serious illnesses despite the increasing number of infections with the corona virus,” said the designated FDP Secretary General Bijan Djir-Sarai of the dpa. “I therefore think it is extremely important that we send a strong positive sign to people in the current situation and start talking seriously and intensively about possible opening perspectives.”
It would be too late to start this discussion only after the peak of the omicron wave has passed, said Djir-Sarai. “Experts are currently estimating that the number of infections will fall again towards the end of February. If this proves to be the case and there is no longer a risk of the healthcare system being overburdened, we must be ready by then with a clear exit strategy.”
not yet passed its zenith
Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) said on Friday that the omicron wave in Germany was well under control. However, the zenith has not yet been passed. The aim remains to minimize the consequences and to protect millions of unvaccinated older people. There could then be a “loosening perspective” for the second half of February or the beginning of March.
In England, where there were relatively large freedoms through the omicron wave, measures that were still in force had already been taken. In Denmark, people will no longer have to wear masks or show proof of vaccination from Tuesday. The Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen had said that the high willingness to vaccinate had turned out to be a “super weapon”. Omicron rarely causes serious illnesses and the number of hospital admissions is relatively low.
In Denmark, more than 80 percent of the total population has been vaccinated twice – that’s more than in Germany. As can be seen from RKI data, 75.7 percent of people in this country received at least one dose of vaccination up to and including Friday. The federal government’s goal of vaccinating 80 percent of the population against Corona at least once by the end of January can hardly be achieved. dpa