Corona crisis: Prime Ministers slow expectations of quick easing

In the debate about a possible roadmap from the corona lockdown, several prime ministers warn that measures to combat the virus will soon be partially lifted.

Saxony-Anhalt’s Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff welcomes the Recommendations from the Leopoldina on the possible relaxation of restrictions. The CDU politician also told SPIEGEL: “I would like to expressly warn against the premature and general abolition of measures. We are still fighting the corona pandemic and must be able to control every step and correct it if necessary.”

The decisive factor is the meeting on Wednesday, in which the Prime Ministers want to exchange ideas with the Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) on how to proceed from April 20. “The convoy of the federal and state governments has proven its worth. A common general course should remain recognizable,” said Haseloff. There could be “regional and country-specific differences”.

Manuela Schwesig, Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, also cautioned: “The scientists have told us very clearly that we are walking a tightrope,” said the SPD politician. “If we relax measures, it has to be done so that the number of infections does not skyrocket.”

Also Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) sees only a gradual relaxation of the measures as possible: “Clearly: there will be no quick start from zero to one hundred. The distance and hygiene rules will also be with us for a long time.”

He also warned that the federal states should not make far-reaching decisions alone. “I, also as President of the Bundesrat, rely on the federal states to act in a coordinated manner nationwide. Of course there will be regional peculiarities. That is also true and an advantage of our federalism,” Woidke told SPIEGEL.

In Berlin the brakes Governing Mayor Michael Müller (SPD) also the expectations for a quick relaxation of the corona rules. “Health protection is still the top priority when we talk about easing,” Müller told SPIEGEL. It should be clear that one is not yet over the mountain, all considerations are measured against this.

Müller had previously spoken to the broadcaster rbb about a relaxation of the exit restrictions from April 27 at the earliest. Now he didn’t want to commit himself anymore. “We will first discuss with the Chancellor and the Prime Minister on Wednesday, where and when which easing of the exit restrictions is possible.”

On this basis, the Berlin Senate would discuss how the recommendations could also be implemented in Berlin and adapted regionally. “We will take the time to do this,” said Müller.

However, he mentioned three measures that could potentially be considered primarily in the event of easing. “I think first steps are particularly important in the areas of school and retail. The mask requirement in shops will certainly also be an issue that we have to discuss,” said Müller.

Common indicators, different measures

The Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) emphasized the unity of the countries “that we will come to a common baseline”. Dreyer referred to “common indicators” that should apply nationwide, such as a low rate of new infections, the capacity of the health system or adequate protective equipment.

The resulting measures could, however, differ from country to country, says Dreyer: “In Bavaria, with its high number of cases and its proximity to the risk areas of Italy and Austria, we have a different situation than in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, where only relatively few people are ill. “

The debate about a possible way out of the lockdown has been going on for a few days. Especially the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) had aggressively advocated that public life after Easter be brought back to “responsible normality”. This would go “gently” and “not all at once,” he said. “But I am convinced that we should try this after Easter.”

SPIEGEL asked against it Baden-Württemberg Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) for patience and warned: “Too early a loosening would be devastating, then everything we have held out in the past few weeks would be for the cat. Then a second wave would build up, which in case of doubt would be even bigger than the current one, and we would have to shut everything down again. ” A second lockdown, however, would be difficult for the economy and society to cope with.

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