ROUNDUP 2: Trade and industry are arming themselves against the Corona variant Omikron
A coal-fired power station (symbolic image). © Danicek / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images
(new: municipal companies)
BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – Trade and industry in Germany are arming themselves against the spread of the highly contagious Corona variant Omikron. Most industries – from the food industry to energy supply – consider the risks manageable, as a survey by the German press agency showed. The industry is particularly concerned about the international exchange of goods if the pandemic worsens.
For the food industry, the protection of the health of employees has priority at the moment, “so that food production can also be maintained,” said the chief executive of the German Food Association, Christoph Minhoff. “Although there is no guarantee that there will be no stoppages in the production process if employees have to be quarantined, we can assure you that we as an industry are doing everything in our power to prevent the spread of the coronavirus through preventive operational measures and now to prevent the omicron variant. “
If employees should be absent due to quarantine, this would not necessarily result in supply problems, stressed Minhoff. Long-life foods such as pasta, rice, frozen products or canned food are pre-produced in large quantities and can be called up. In addition, in many areas there is not just one, but many providers who can compensate for possible delivery problems.
The transport industry also sees itself well positioned for the feared worsening of the corona situation. “The logistics industry is now extremely well versed in dealing with the ongoing pandemic, so that at the present time, despite thin staffing levels, there are no major supply-related failures to be feared,” said Frank Huster, General Manager of the Federal Association of Freight Forwarding and Logistics (DSLV). In the previous corona waves, there were hardly any failures in supply chains due to infections among employees. Rather, the cause was measures such as border closings. The Federal Association of Freight Transport, Logistics and Disposal (BGL) proposed in the specialist service “Tagesspiegel Background” that the “Pact for Supplying Germany” concluded in March 2020 be reissued in order to close possible gaps in the supply chains.
According to the association, the energy industry currently sees no increased risk for security of supply from the Omikron variant. The companies observed the developments very closely and carried out regular risk assessments, announced the head of the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW), Kerstin Andreae, recently.
Germany’s largest electricity supplier Eon
The Association of Municipal Enterprises (VKU) also emphasized: “The electricity, heat and water supply is safe, sewage and waste are safely disposed of, and the fiber-optic networks work for fast internet.” So that this could be ensured even if the epidemic situation worsened, the municipal companies demanded that the Covid-19 working time regulation be reinstated with the option of extending daily working hours to up to twelve hours. In addition, companies in the critical infrastructure should be given priority access to test capacities, also in order to keep quarantine measures as short as possible.
According to Industry President Siegfried Russwurm, German industry is particularly concerned “that the worsening corona situation could again lead to restrictions in international logistics and cross-border supply chains”. The federal government must ensure that the international exchange of goods with EU risk areas and important international trading partners remains intact. The EU should keep the borders open in the internal market.
In view of the continuing burdens on the economy from the pandemic, the federal states proposed in a letter to Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) an extension and improvement of the economic aid for companies affected by government restrictions. In order to supply the companies with liquidity as early as January 2022, the states also suggested advance payments./rea/DP/nas
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