Chancellor Scholz has given an outlook on the first steps towards the lifting of restrictions in Germany. This is to be discussed at next week’s coronavirus summit of the federal government and the states. The Greens and the FDP are divided on loosening restrictions.
Scholz sees possibility of easing restrictions sooner
Although the peak of the omicron wave in Germany is likely not yet reached, Chancellor Olaf Scholz sees the possibility of easing pandemic restrictions early. “Scientific forecasts show that the peak of the next wave is on the horizon,” the chancellor said in a speech at the Bundesrat. “This allows us to start discussions on the first step towards easing restrictions already at the federal-land meeting next week.”
The German chancellor added that the advice of scientists will be listened to so that the achievements made so far in the fight against the pandemic are not lost. “At the same time, we will be vigilant and prepared in case the number of infected people increases significantly again,” he said. The health care system has so far survived the crisis, despite the huge strain on doctors and hospital staff. So the measures adopted are working. In addition, Scholz again urged the population to vaccinate.
The Infection Protection Act is still in effect until March 19
The basis for restrictions in the states, such as the mandatory use of masks, is the Infection Protection Act. As the law stands now, it is only still in effect until March 19. The federal government and the state governments want to agree on further steps as early as February 16. The federal government has so far refused to work out a backlash plan before the consultation. Scholz apparently wants to do so now.
FDP opposed to extending tightening
Coalition partner, the FDP, has repeatedly spoken out against extending the strictures in recent days. FDP parliamentary party leader Christian Dürr said on the ARD and ZDF program “Morgenmagazin” that the government should not wait until March 19 to take further steps to ease the measures. It should now be opened step by step to create a “smooth transition”. As a first step, 2G retail rules, contact tracking and restrictions on contact during private meetings should be lifted.
Some doctors warn of loosening
This has put the FDP in conflict with its third coalition partner in government, the Greens. The leader of their parliamentary group, Britta Haßelmann, told Redaktionsnetzwerks Deutschland (RND) that the basic coronavirus measures should be extended beyond March 19. She asked for a cautious opening in stages. With the rising number of infections, the Green politician cannot imagine that Germany can do without all the measures in the short term, she told RND.
The president of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, also warned against premature relaxation. He justified this primarily on the grounds that there is no reliable database on the current prevalence of infections. “This makes it difficult to assess the situation clearly,” – He told “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”.