Calls grow in Germany for uniform coronavirus rules

Calls grow in Germany for uniform coronavirus rules
Christof STACHE / AFP
Germany's Interior Minister and Bavaria's State Premier have called for coronavirus regulations to be applied consistently across the country after some states failed to apply "emergency-brake" measures even as cases rise.

On Sunday, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that there was a “great longing in the population for uniform rules”.

“My proposal, therefore, is to establish uniform regulations by a federal law,” the former leader of the CSU said.

The CSU or Christian Social Union is the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).

READ ALSO: German politics – 10 things you need to know

“This law should precisely prescribe which steps would have to be taken for each of the incidence values – from tightening to easing [of restrictions,]” he said.

This proposal was echoed by Markus Söder, who succeeded Seehofer as premier of Bavaria and leads the CSU.

“To combat coronavirus effectively, we need a uniform, national pandemic plan instead of a patchwork of unclear rules in individual states, he told Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

This would allow so-called “emergency-brake” measures to be consistently applied when new infections exceeded 100 per 100,000 residents within a seven-day period.

He told the paper that Germany should also consider whether a further shorter but stricter lockdown might be better than a “half-hearted and therefore endless Corona concept, that has also not really reduced the number of new infections.”

READ ALSO: Covid-19 variants comprise ‘almost 90 percent of new cases in Germany’

Earlier, a government spokesperson told press agency DPA that the government was currently considering whether and how they could implement uniform rules to stem infections should state measures prove insufficient, the Rheinische Post reported.

“The states have all the instruments at their disposal. And we can see that in many states additional measures are being implemented, too,” the spokesperson told DPA.

Last week, Angela Merkel criticised some of Germany’s states for not implementing agreed Covid resolutions when case rates rose above 100 per 100,000 residents.

For the whole of Germany, on April 4th, the seven-day incidence rate stood at 127 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute.

This is slightly less than last Sunday’s figure of 130 per 100,000 residents.

The below chart from Our World in Data shows the rolling seven-day average of daily new confirmed Covid cases in Germany.

 

Speaking on the ARD programme Anne Will, Merkel said that if states didn’t do this “within the very foreseeable future”, she would have to consider ways to implement regulations at a national level.  

However, not everyone is in favour of national regulations.

Dietmar Bartsch, leader of Die Linke’s parliamentary group, told the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers that uniform Covid-19 rules would not be enshrined in national law because “there is, rightly, no majority for this, either in the Bundestag [the lower house of parliament] or the Bundesrat [the upper house of parliament]”.

“All the legal options for managing the pandemic are available,” he said.

Bartsch also supported Health Minister Jens Spahn’s promise to give more freedom to those who have been fully vaccinated.

“If the scientific data confirms it is safe, of course vaccinated people should be able to exercise all their rights once again,” he said.

Earlier, Spahn promised more freedom to people who had received both doses of a Covid vaccine.

This was based on the Robert Koch Institute’s assessment of the latest scientific findings, which state that those who are fully vaccinated are no longer able to pass the virus on.


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