Dhe health policy spokesman for the Greens, Janosch Dahmen, has a general abolition of the Mask requirement warned. On Friday morning on the RTL and ntv channels, Dahmen referred to the current enormous stress situation in hospitals, not only because of Corona, but also because of other respiratory diseases. Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) criticized different regulations in the federal states.
Dahmen expressly criticized Saxony-Anhalt’s decision, which came into force on Thursday, to abolish the obligation to wear masks in local public transport. “I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said. “We are currently not in a situation where we can talk about relaxation when we look at the healthcare system.”
“Masks continue to be a very important tool for keeping chains of infection short, taking out the dynamics of infection and are also very effective for all these different respiratory diseases,” emphasized the Green politician. “We should definitely stick to masks in the interior, especially for the coming winter season,” he continued.
Lauterbach also criticized federal states that have abolished the obligation to wear masks in local public transport and the obligation to isolate. In addition to Saxony-Anhalt, Bavaria has also decided to end the mask requirement in public transport, which will take effect this Saturday. In some other federal states, a decision is still pending.
“It confuses the citizens,” said Lauterbach RTL and ntv about the resulting patchwork. He wouldn’t find it impressive if states no longer implemented the laws that they had a say in the federal government.
“I don’t see any need to lift or relax the isolation now that the hospitals are full,” said Lauterbach, especially with a view to full children’s wards. “You should be a bit considerate of each other,” demanded the Minister of Health.
Lauterbach rejects easing
Nevertheless, Lauterbach is confident about the development of the pandemic in the coming months: “Hopefully the coming winter will be the last major battle with the corona virus,” said the politician “Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin”. The virus had “mutated into a dead end,” said the minister. However, Lauterbach remains true to his cautious line, he does not want to give the all-clear: “There is no reason for carelessness. It is too early for further easing.”
Lauterbach acknowledged in the interview that the pandemic played a role in his rise to the ministerial post. “Corona helped that I got this office, you have to say that.”
His private life suffered under the office. “I have the highest security level, I’m with many security officers on the weekends,” said Lauterbach. “Sometimes when my daughter or friends are with me, I have to ask security to give us some privacy.”
That is also the reason why he is trying harder not to let private things get into the public eye: “I definitely have to be even more careful not to endanger people who are close to me.”
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is confident about the development of the pandemic in the coming months. “It’s a much more relaxed situation than before,” said Scholz after the federal-state conference on Thursday evening in Berlin. The corona pandemic is still there. There are also major problems with other respiratory diseases.
Unlike in previous years, there is now a “very extensively vaccinated population” in Germany, said the Chancellor. Therefore, the country could go into this winter “very well”. This time, the top group of federal and state governments did not make any concrete decisions on pandemic policy.
The Prime Ministers of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia, Stephan Weil (SPD) and Hendrik Wüst (CDU), do not see it as a problem that the states are abolishing the last measures against Corona at different speeds. “It’s a topic that we’ve known about since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Weil, as chairman of the Prime Ministers’ Conference, on Thursday before the state leaders’ consultations with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in Berlin. That doesn’t look good for all countries. “But it’s also nothing that, from a national perspective, would have prevented us from coping well with the pandemic overall.”
The CDU politician Wüst said that there are always different corona situations in the countries. Each country must decide for itself which measures are proportionate. “The accusation of a patchwork quilt is quickly raised, but you always have to look at the situation,” said Wüst.
With Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt, the first federal states have decided to abolish the obligation to wear a respiratory mask in local public transport. The cabinets of both countries justified their decisions with a stable infection situation. While the CDU and FDP welcomed the decision and called for further steps, Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) criticized the advance.
The Conference of Health Ministers (GMK) was unable to agree on a common line on compulsory masks in public transport on Monday. In Saxony-Anhalt, the mask requirement fell on Thursday, Bavaria is to follow on Saturday. According to Weil, Corona will not be one of the major issues at the meeting of the country heads with Scholz.
The trend in the number of corona infections is meanwhile continuing to rise. As the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced on Friday morning, the so-called seven-day incidence of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants nationwide was 219.9 again above the value of the previous day. In addition, 167 new deaths from corona infected people were registered within one day.
“Kick-off Politics” is WELT’s daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast at Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music or directly via RSS feed.