Pandemic: traffic light wants to make Germany winterproof – Brinkhaus criticizes “denial of reality” at corona course
Berlin Olaf Scholz stretches the tension wide. There are still far too many unvaccinated people in this country, says the executive finance minister and likely next chancellor. “Very, very many of those who are not vaccinated will become infected.” Many of those infected would get sick – and many would then struggle for their lives in the intensive care units, said the SPD politician on Thursday at the Bundestag debate on the Corona measures planned at traffic lights.
So does it come now after all, the compulsory vaccination in Germany? No, Scholz only announces that politicians will give the hospitals the necessary financial means so that they can postpone planned operations and keep intensive care beds free for Covid patients.
The parliamentary debate on Thursday was eagerly awaited because Scholz was faced with allegations of ducking away in the corona crisis. And because it was to be the first major exchange of blows between the likely future traffic light coalition and the Union in its new opposition role.
In the Bundestag, Scholz campaigns for the traffic light plan to let the epidemic situation of national scope come to an end, but to give the federal states a new catalog of criteria. “The virus is still with us and threatens the health of our citizens,” he warns. It is now a matter of making the country “winter-proof”.
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This should succeed with a new vaccination campaign, booster vaccinations for everyone, a 3G regulation at the workplace, daily tests for staff and visitors in nursing homes, the return of the free citizen tests and also the possibility of only vaccinated and convalescent access to restaurants and cinemas or to grant public events. Many countries have already set out in the direction of this 2G rule, says Scholz: “I consider this to be good progress that it is being done everywhere, we are now creating the opportunities for it.”
Prime Minister’s Conference planned
While Scholz is talking, the Managing Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) sits on the government bench behind him with his arms crossed. Maybe he is very happy that someone else will soon have to take care of fighting the pandemic.
Before the Bundestag debate, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported that the number of new infections every day had risen to more than 50,000. The seven-day incidence, i.e. the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week, rises from one sad record to the next and has now reached 249.
That is why there will be a Prime Minister’s Conference next week, announced Scholz. The Executive Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) had repeatedly called for such a federal-state round in view of the dramatic course of the pandemic.
Union parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU) opened the opposition’s attack on the fact that the round had not met much earlier. The fact that the traffic light coalition wanted to let the epidemic emergency run out is a big mistake because the countries are deprived of flexibility and options for action.
Scholz: “Have to take a lot of measures so that we can get through this winter”
The likely future federal government does not have a sensible plan for fighting pandemics. What Scholz presented is more of a description of the situation than a powerful political statement. And if you let the epidemic situation come to an end, then suggest to people that it is no longer that bad.
Green politician points to shared responsibility
The problem: It was Brinkhaus’ party friend Spahn who, as health minister, had already brought into play in the summer that the epidemic situation should expire on November 25th. A sore point that the Green parliamentary group leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt is only too happy to put his finger on: “You can’t steal your own responsibility here, Mr. Brinkhaus, that is shabby and that is irresponsible,” she exclaims to the applause of the Traffic light fractions.
Of course, the debate about compulsory vaccination for staff in nursing homes and other sensitive facilities must also be conducted, emphasized the Green politician. But such a measure, should it come, will not take effect for many weeks. Therefore it is all the more problematic and a “really blatant omission” that the black-red coalition abolished the free citizen tests.
Göring-Eckardt emphasizes that the SPD, Greens and FDP are trying to provide the countries with effective and legally secure instruments. And her possible future coalition partner Marco Buschmann (FDP) reminds that the Bavarian Constitutional Court has only just overturned curfews, which the Infection Protection Act currently provides as an instrument, as disproportionate.
“Freedom Day” in the distance
The traffic lights delete measures that threaten to be unconstitutional. But she wants more measures where the old government has failed. This applies, for example, to the protection of nursing home residents. In some federal states, almost 90 percent of the deaths in retirement homes are to be mourned, stresses Buschmann.
The AfD accuses the traffic light parties of continuing to deprive citizens of their civil liberties despite the end of the epidemic emergency. They would have to wait longer for the promised “Freedom Day” and the expansion of the 2G rule would exert “massive and indecent pressure” on people who, for a variety of reasons, did not want to be vaccinated, criticized parliamentary deputy Sebastian Munzenmaier.
It is claimed that by abolishing the epidemic situation the traffic light parties are suggesting that it is all over, countered FDP politician Buschmann. But this is by no means the case, he says, and attacks the AfD sharply: “Lies and fake news belong in the toolbox of dictatorships.”
More: 3G in the workplace – why data protection has to take a back seat. A comment.