An increasing number of German states are deciding how to proceed once the transition period for the coronavirus pandemic regulations, which will take effect after April 2, expires. The Senate in Hamburg has confirmed its intention to continue using extended protective measures, such as the obligation to wear masks indoors, at least until the end of April. To this end, it wants to make use of the so-called hotspot legislation. In contrast, states such as Baden-Württemberg, Berlin and Saxony are not considering doing so.
The state parliament in Hamburg will discuss the Senate proposal on Wednesday, March 30. According to the amended German Infection Protection Act, the entry into force of the hotspot legislation is only possible by a resolution of the national parliament. Due to the high number of cases, the Landtag of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern already last Thursday declared the entire state a so-called hotspot, an area where the pandemic situation is particularly critical. Now Mecklenburg-Vorpommern wants Hamburg to follow suit. Senate spokesman Marcel Schweitzer justified the move with concerns that the health system could be overloaded if the restrictions no longer apply. Experience from the pandemic period shows that an increase in infections leads to an increasing burden on the health care system and hospitals over time, he said. As infection numbers have increased significantly, steps must be taken immediately to prevent health care facilities from becoming overloaded.
In contrast, the state government of Baden-Württemberg does not intend to use the hotspot regulations. Once the transitional regulation under the Infection Protection Act expires, it will “use the resources that the states still have available to them under the Infection Protection Act,” – announced the two ruling parties, the Greens and the CDU, after a joint committee meeting. One way to avoid possible overloading of the health care system in the regions, in their view, is to relocate patients and staff. Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann stressed that the possibilities for imposing restrictions will now be very limited. At the same time, he urged residents to continue wearing masks indoors, among other things.
Appeal to wear masks
Despite still high numbers of infections in Bavaria, the vast majority of covidien restrictions there will cease over the weekend. As the head of the state’s chancellery, Florian Herrmann, announced after the cabinet meeting, the government does not intend to declare all of Bavaria, or even individual regions of it, so-called hotspots. “We recommend, among other things, keeping a social distance and wearing masks indoors,” – he added. According to Herrmann, these are simple ways to protect against infection, but which can no longer be mandated by law.
The governments of states such as Nadrheinland-Pfalz, Szleswig-Holstein, Saxony, Berlin, Brandenburg and Saarland have also decided to limit themselves to the basic protective measures of the Infection Protection Act. Hesse had already done so on Monday. The use of hotspot legislation was not considered. At the same time, governments have called on citizens to voluntarily cover their mouths and noses indoors.
Also Lower Saxony does not intend to make use of the hotspot legislation, Social Affairs Minister Daniela Behrens announced. As of Saturday, only the basic guidelines set out in the Infection Protection Act will apply, she said in Hanover. The prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Hendrik Wüst does not see any way to legally declare his state a so-called hotspot and thus increase the protection of residents against infection.
Requests by several states to extend the restrictions until the end of April have been rejected
Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and Saarland requested that the current pandemic restrictions be maintained until the end of April. However, the proposal to amend the infection protection law again was rejected during consultations with the states’ health ministers on Monday, Lauterbach said after the talks. This means that the pandemic control measures currently in place across the country will expire no later than April 2, according to the federal government’s plan. As of Sunday, covering the mouth and nose will only be mandatory to a limited extent. Masking will still have to be worn in hospitals, nursing homes and public transport, among other places.
Additional protective measures, such as the general obligation to wear masks in enclosed spaces or the 2G and 3G rules will only be permitted by way of exception in regions that are designated as so-called hotspots. For this purpose, the parliament of the respective federal state must recognize that the situation in that region is particularly critical.
Source: www.n-tv.de, www.insidegermany.co