Voices on the corona lockdown in Berchtesgadener Land: “It hits the wrong people”

Berchtesgadener Land is Germany’s corona hotspot. There is a curfew, shops have to close. How does the lockdown affect the local people? t-online asked around.

The second wave of Corona-Pandemie met many people in the Berchtesgadener Land suddenly and unexpectedly. The Bavarian district is currently Germany’s virus hotspot, and the number of new infections rose rapidly in a short time – the so-called seven-day incidence was 262 on Wednesday. Bavaria’s state government responded with strict measures. Leaving one’s own home is only allowed with a valid reason; many businesses have to close. Read more about the measures here.

Berchtesgadener Land: Empty streets – people should stay at home. (Source: Leonhard Foeger / Reuters)

It is the second lockdown in the popular tourist area after March, hoteliers in particular are suffering from the new measures. In the Berchtesgadener Land, people sometimes react desperately to the again strict measures. Many are at a loss, but also show understanding in view of the increasing number of infections. t-online asked around in the district.

Hoteliers: “It hits us again – it hits the wrong people”

Hoteliers are particularly busy these days. Although it is no longer possible to receive and accommodate guests, trips and reservations must be canceled or rebooked. “After two and a half months of closure, after setting up a sophisticated hygiene concept, it hits us again. It hits the wrong people,” says Hannes Lichtmannegger, owner of Berghotel Rehlegg, to t-online.

According to Lichtmannegger, tourists were not to blame for the major virus outbreak: “Our hygiene concept was very well received by the guests. I cannot confirm that tourists are the reason for new infections. On the contrary: it is much more likely to be private events.”

Hairdressers: “We make the best of it.”

While hotels had to cease operations, hairdressers are allowed to continue their work – their profession is considered systemically relevant. Hairdresser Martina Hinterbrandner has a small hairdresser in Berchtesgaden. She supports the strict measures. “Of course nobody wanted these measures, but they have to be. I also experience in my environment that many accept the rules,” says Hinterbrandner. However, she also understands shopkeepers and restaurateurs. “It’s bad for business and I can understand the annoyance of people who own a store. But that’s the way it is and we make the most of it.”

Empty classroom: Students and teachers have to stay at home for two weeks from now on (symbol image).  (Source: imago images / imagebroker)Empty classroom: Students and teachers have to stay at home for two weeks from now on (symbol image). (Source: imagebroker / imago images)

The Hallinger hairdressing company in Berchtesgaden is happy that the hairdresser is not suffering from the measures for the time being. “We have already received a few rejections, but we hope that there won’t be more.” Hinterbrandner, however, also perceives the political communication of the corona measures to be intransparent. “The public information is opaque, many customers are not sure and prefer to ask again whether we are really open.”

Schools: “We lose eight days, this is not the world”

The schools and daycare centers will also be closed again in the next two weeks. Andreas Schöberl, headmaster of the Berchtesgaden grammar school, carries it with composure. “We lose eight days, that’s not the world,” Schöberl tells t-online. “Nobody expected the drastic situation we have now. But we are more prepared than we were in March”. Although he sees face-to-face teaching as the best form of teaching, the closure of the schools could not be avoided.

“With the drastically increasing number of infections, something had to be done,” said Schöberl. “The students have been in the school adhered to the rules, but no one can prevent you from getting closer on the school bus and then there is a risk of contagion, “says the headmaster. He would rather have eight days of digital lessons than keep having students and Teachers in quarantine would have to.

Ultimately, the population in Berchtesgadener Land mixes understanding for the strict corona measures with perplexity as to how the lockdown could have been prevented. But the local people have one thing in common: the hope of a quick return to normalcy.


After the meeting, there is still no uniform corona course

NAfter the eight-hour meeting between the Chancellor and the 16 Prime Ministers, there is still no uniform line in Germany against the second wave of corona infections. Angela Merkel (CDU) said after the negotiations in the Chancellery on Wednesday evening that she was dissatisfied with the lack of unity in domestic German travel. In the joint declaration, the federal and state governments urge all citizens to refrain from unnecessary vacation travel. But the federal states insisted in the negotiations on making different regulations for travelers from risk areas with more than 50 infections per 100,000 inhabitants.

“Germany cannot afford a second lockdown,” said Merkel, pointing out that the federal government will take on EUR 200 billion in debt this year in order to be able to cope with the consequences of the corona. “Should a second lockdown come, this would fundamentally endanger the country’s prosperity,” warned the CSU chairman and Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder.

New rules for risk areas within Germany

The federal and state governments decided on contact limits for all regions in which the number of new corona infections shoots over 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in one week. Private celebrations there should generally be limited to a maximum of ten participants and two households. There should also be a curfew for restaurants. The first measures should already take effect with a number of 35 or more cases – for example, a mask requirement in public spaces wherever people come together closer or longer.

Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia emphasized in a protocol note that they only see the restrictions for private meetings as recommendations and did not want to make them mandatory. There are legal concerns about the interference with the inviolability of the home. Lower Saxony also wants to check this legally. Saxony also announced reservations.

Merkel also specifically appealed to young people to limit themselves. “Better to forego a few parties and celebrations and parties today in order to be able to live well tomorrow and the day after,” she said. You are dealing with a huge challenge that could entail a lot.

Merkel and Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Mueller (SPD) emphasized that all the measures that have now been decided could only have an effect in ten days. “That’s why the numbers will initially continue to rise,” said Söder.

Further compulsory testing for risky travelers in MV

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s controversial restrictions for travelers from Corona risk areas could partially fall. Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig (SPD) wants to check whether the quarantine of at least five days and the obligation to take a test afterwards will be waived in the future. “But that depends on how the infection numbers in our own federal state develop,” said Schwesig after the meeting. Travelers from Corona risk areas would still have to bring a negative test.

Schwesig, who originally campaigned for a multi-level traffic light system, was satisfied with the new agreements. The now agreed system guarantees that from 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants will be traded, she said.

Thuringia wants to go along with it, but not with the ban on accommodation

Thuringia also wants to implement the newly resolved corona rules. “These are the measures that Thuringia will have to adjust to,” said Ramelow after the meeting. The current Corona regulation runs in the Free State until the end of October. There will be adjustments, Ramelow made clear, “but always depending on the infection process.”

“Now I’m not so worried that I think we don’t have it under control in Thuringia,” said Ramelow. But the number of infections would also rise there. The new infections per day are currently the highest values ​​since March / April – here he is “wide awake”, said Ramelow.

There was also intensive talk about the ban on accommodation for people from hotspot regions. Thuringia has so far rejected such a ban. Ramelow referred to the agreement that the federal states want to reassess this topic together after the autumn break on November 8th. “We want to see how different things develop,” said Ramelow.

Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann referred to “very significant regional differences”. For example, the northern German “vacation countries” Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein have to expect huge streams of vacationers from Berlin, where there are high numbers of infections. But he is confident that the countries will agree on a uniform approach after the holidays.

Rules should be controlled more closely

Merkel emphasized that the question of tracking chains of infection is more decisive than travel restrictions. Therefore, the federal government will significantly expand its personnel offer to the federal states and municipalities. Among other things, it offered 15,000 Bundeswehr soldiers. The federal police should also provide help, for example with the implementation of the corona measures that have been decided. Müller said compliance with the rules was of central importance. “We will take these control obligations very seriously,” he announced.

Söder admitted that he had not been able to enforce his demand for an increase in the fine for violating the mask requirement to 250 euros. If the measures now decided do not reduce the number of infections, further tightening would be on the agenda in ten days.


No “exceptional situation”: Merz rejects CSU chancellor candidates

The fight for chairmanship of the CDU has not yet been decided. But one thing is clear from candidate Friedrich Merz: He is against the candidacy of a CSU politician for chancellor. Earlier cases were “exceptional situations”, but they do not currently exist.

The applicant for the CDU chairmanship, Friedrich Merz, has spoken out against a CSU candidate for chancellor of the Union. In 1980 and 2002, the union with a CSU politician entered the federal election because this wanted a majority in the CDU, said Merz in Hildesheim at an event of the Junge Union Niedersachsen.

However, he described this as an exceptional situation because the CDU did not trust itself to be the candidate for chancellor at the time. “Quite frankly: I do not see such a situation for 2020,” emphasized Merz, who competed in the election of the CDU chief at the beginning of December against the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet and the foreign politician Norbert Röttgen.

Merz received applause from the JU delegates for this comment. It remains that the new CDU chairman will then agree with the CSU boss who will run for the Union in the election, said Merz. He has “great respect” for the CSU, and the combination of sister parties ensures that the Union has the opportunity to cover a very broad spectrum of voters. There are many voters in Lower Saxony who “grudgingly” voted for the CDU because there is the CSU in Bavaria. “But there are just as many CSU voters in Bavaria who grudgingly vote for the CSU because the CDU exists in the rest of the republic,” added Merz.

The Union must preserve this “treasure” of appearing together. ”The background to this is the debate as to whether CSU boss Markus Söder could also be Union candidate for chancellor because, in surveys, he was ahead of the three applicants for the CDU chairmanship Most recently he emphasized several times that his place was in Bavaria, but there is still speculation that he might seek the Union’s candidacy for chancellor.


Agreement on the right to vote and short-time work – that was decided

So now after all: literally at the last minute, the grand coalition agreed on an electoral reform. And also with the extension A breakthrough was achieved through financial aid in the Corona crisis.

After a tough struggle, the leaders of the CDU / CSU and SPD have agreed, among other things, on an electoral reform as well as the extension of short-time work benefits and Corona aid for medium-sized businesses. Here an overview of the decisions:

  • In the electoral reform After years of controversy, a compromise was reached to reduce the size of the Bundestag. The number of constituencies is to remain untouched for the 2021 election, and the number is to be reduced from 299 to 280 by 2025. A reform commission is to clarify the details. As early as 2021, however, up to three overhang mandates should no longer be compensated. The exact effect of this measure is not yet foreseeable.
  • Companies in Germany can find jobs in the corona crisis wProtect yourself through simplified short-time work. This should be extended from the regular 12 to up to 24 months. The extended period is to apply to companies that have introduced short-time work by December 31, 2020. At the longest, the short-time allowance should be extended until December 31, 2021.
  • Legally insured people stand for 2020 because of the Corona crisis more sick days to care for their children to disposal. Child sickness benefit is to be granted for an additional five days for parents and for single parents for an additional ten days.
  • Even when schools and daycare are closed due to Corona Children of poorer parents continue to receive free lunch can. The children are to be provided with lunch as part of the education package until December 31, 2020. The decision paper does not reveal how many children last made use of the special regulation. In the spring, critics complained that home deliveries by a locally recognized provider were difficult to implement.
  • Who cares for relatives due to corona or reorganize care can be absent from work for up to 20 working days this year. The care support allowance can also be used for up to 20 working days if care is provided at home due to corona-related supply bottlenecks.
  • Those particularly affected by the crisis Artists, small self-employed and small business owners should have easier access to basic social security. In addition, more generous rules should apply to protective assets. Access to basic social security, which has been made easier due to the Corona crisis, is also to be extended – until the end of 2021.
  • The bridging aid for small and medium-sized businesses are extended until the end of the year. The program is currently limited to the end of August. According to the current status, fixed operating costs of up to 150,000 euros in total will be reimbursed for the months of June to August. The federal government had budgeted 25 billion euros for the subsidies. The disbursement of the funds via the countries is slow, also because the procedure is complex – politicians want to prevent cases of fraud such as with Corona emergency aid. The bridging aid was an important component of the coalition’s economic stimulus package agreed in June.
  • The remaining Relaxation in bankruptcy law are extended to further prevent a wave of bankruptcies. Until the end of the year, the regulation on the suspension of the obligation to file for insolvency for the reason for filing for overindebtedness will continue to be suspended. The obligation to file for insolvency was suspended from March to the end of September for cases in which the insolvency or overindebtedness of companies is due to the consequences of the corona pandemic.
  • From the EU Corona aid funds A digital education offensive is to be financed, which consists of 500 million euros for equipping teachers with digital devices. On the other hand, the establishment of a nationwide education platform is to be promoted, which is supposed to enable a protected and quality-assured space for high-quality digital teaching content.
  • A funding program of 500 million euros, limited to 2020 and 2021, is to be implemented Corona-compliant retrofitting of air conditioning systems be financed in public buildings and places of assembly.
  • A working group should get to work to To anchor children’s rights in the Basic Law. The Union and SPD had already agreed on this in the coalition agreement.
  • Another working group is also to be set up campaign for less red tape. Specifically, it is said that the coalition will set up a high-level working group to identify the regulatory content for a “Bureaucracy Relief Act IV”. The aim of the law should be to strengthen the economy, to relieve bureaucracy and to maintain the high standards in force.

Kramp-Karrenbauer: Coalition is able to act

With the breakthrough in the reform of the electoral law and the extension of the short-time work allowance, the grand coalition has shown, according to Kramp-Karrenbauer, that it is capable of acting. Given the Corona-Pandemie many measures would be extended, said Kramp-Karrenbauer after the meeting of the party leaders. CSU boss Markus Söder spoke of a fair compromise on the right to vote.

SPD leader Saskia Esken also pointed out that 500 million euros would be made available to digitally equip teachers. This should create a new educational platform. In addition, competence centers for digital training would be created. With the education offensive, schools should arrive in the 21st century.

Compromise on the right to vote

The compromise on the electoral law provides that further growth of the Bundestag in the 2021 election should be prevented by a dampening measure. The right reform should not take effect until 2025. To this end, a reform commission is to be set up in this electoral period, said the chairmen of the CDU and SPD, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Norbert Walter-Borjans late Tuesday evening with. For the time being, the number of constituencies will remain the same, explained Walter-Borjans. “As a result, this is something that leads us to expect that the Bundestag will be significantly smaller and that it will still be composed fairly and correctly reflect the election result,” said Walter-Borjans. The number of constituencies is to be left at 299 for the federal election in 2021 and then reduced to 280 in 2025. Kramp-Karrenbauer emphasized that the electoral reform was “a very difficult topic”. Söder said the debate about the electoral reform was “a bit tougher”: “At the beginning there was less rumble, but more rum.” But it speaks for the seriousness “that despite very different starting positions in the end a fair compromise was found”.

The planned commission is to be composed of scientists, parliamentarians and other members and will present a result by June 30, 2023 at the latest. It should also advise on lowering the voting age from 18 to 16 years, extending the electoral term from 4 to 5 years, equal representation of women and men on candidate lists and in the Bundestag, as well as modernizing parliamentary work.

Different concepts, high pressure to reach agreement

The two coalition partners entered the coalition committee with completely different concepts. This was under great pressure to reach agreement. The next Bundestag should be elected in almost exactly one year. And the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe has stipulated in a code of conduct that about a year before an election its rules should be established.

But the grand coalition must first approach the opposition and try to involve them too. Questions of the right to vote are usually decided by a large majority in the Bundestag.

The reform of the electoral law is intended to prevent the Bundestag from becoming larger again in the autumn 2021 election. With 709 MPs, it has already reached a record level. The standard size is 598 MPs. Without reform, it is feared that it will grow to possibly more than 800 MPs. There is broad consensus in the Bundestag that this would impair the parliament’s ability to work. It would also increase costs.

Short-time work allowance and help for medium-sized businesses

Companies in Germany can further secure jobs in the Corona crisis through simplified short-time work. The leaders of the Union and the SPD agreed to extend the simplified short-time work from regular 12 to up to 24 months. Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) wants to bring the plans to the federal cabinet this Wednesday.

The extended period is to apply to companies that have introduced short-time work by December 31, 2020. At the longest, the short-time allowance should be extended until December 31, 2021. So that the Federal Employment Agency (BA) can shoulder the billions in costs for short-time work, the coalition wants to loosen tax money – as a grant and not as a loan.

The currently applicable rules for easier access to short-time work allowance should apply until December 31, 2021 – for all companies that started short-time work by March 31, 2021. The point here is that only 10 percent of the workforce in a company has to be affected by a loss of pay and that negative working time balances do not need to be built up.

The social security contributions should be fully reimbursed by June 30, 2021. From July 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021 at the latest, half of the social security contributions are to be reimbursed for all companies that have introduced short-time working by June 30, 2021. This half reimbursement can be increased to 100 percent – but only if qualification takes place during short-time work.

Increase in short-time allowance

The short-time work allowance will be increased further to 70 or 77 percent from the fourth month and to 80 or 87 percent from the seventh month. This rule is to be extended to December 31, 2021 for all those who are entitled to short-time work benefits by March 31, 2021. The regular short-time allowance amounts to 60 percent of the lost net wage, 67 percent for working people with children.

The rule that mini-jobs up to 450 euros are generally free of credit will be extended from existing additional earning opportunities. The possibility that temporary workers can receive short-time work allowance is extended. Applicable tax relief for employer subsidies on short-time work allowance is granted until December 31, 2021. And depending on the development of the pandemic, a further possible extension should be decided later.

The Union recently opposed what it considered to be an overly generous extension of the instrument. The CDU labor market expert Weiß criticized the fact that, according to Heil’s original plans, companies should receive full reimbursement of social security contributions from employees on short-time work by March 2022.

IG Metall boss Jörg Hofmann had demanded as a condition for reimbursement of social security contributions for employers that companies refrain from redundancies for operational reasons. Further qualification should also be necessary for a complete reimbursement. The Institute for Employment Research (IAB) had also advocated that an extension of short-time work should usually be linked to using the time for professional qualification.

Critics had warned that short-time work should not be mixed with short-time work in structural change due to the Corona lull. Businesses shouldn’t be artificially preserved.


Preventing a new lockdown: CDU and CSU are approaching the mask requirement

Cross-party calls for uniform nationwide requirements for wearing masks are getting louder. Fines should also be adjusted. Meanwhile, Kramp-Karrenbauer is playing with the idea of ​​significantly expanding the mask requirement.

In view of the increasing number of new corona infections in Germany, there are increasing voices in favor of increased mask requirements at work and in schools. CDU party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer referred in the “Welt am Sonntag” to the fact that many companies already have to wear masks.

“That could definitely be a step that is also mandatory nationwide, at least if it could prevent entire industries from closing,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer. Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder advocates a uniform mask requirement.

From Kramp-Karrenbauer’s point of view, the comprehensive mask requirement should also apply to schools. “If the compulsory wearing of masks in class means that we avoid the closure of schools, then we should think about it,” said the CDU leader. She referred to experiences in North Rhine-Westphalia.

At the beginning of the new school year, NRW was the first federal state to introduce compulsory masks during lessons. The measure, which does not apply to primary schools, is initially limited to the end of August. Other federal states only ordered the wearing of a face-to-face mask on the school grounds and in the hallways.

Söder pleads for uniform regulation

Söder said on Deutschlandfunk that he would campaign for a uniform mask requirement and uniform fines for violations during the deliberations of the Prime Minister with Chancellor Angela Merkel next Thursday. It must be considered whether the mask requirement could be increased again in some places “in the next one or two months”. Bavaria also wants to check whether a mask is required in class before school starts, as in North Rhine-Westphalia. The aim is “to prevent a lockdown like the one we had,” said Söder.

The Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Dreyer, is also pushing for more uniform regulations to be found at the federal-state conference. There is a sometimes “confusing variety of different regulations”, Dreyer told the “Spiegel”. Dreyer is primarily concerned with the fines and the regulations for major events. At large events it is helpful “if there was a uniform maximum limit for all federal states,” said the Prime Minister.

Left party leader Katja Kipping called for the provision of suitable air filters to prevent corona infections. “Schools, offices and restaurants must have air filters available before winter that can safely filter aerosols with corona viruses out of the air,” Kipping told the editorial network Germany. The federal government urgently needs to ensure sufficient availability of such filter systems.

New infections climb to the top

The corona numbers have recently risen again in Germany. On Saturday, the Robert Koch Institute reported more than 2000 new infections in one day for the first time since April. Almost 800 new infections were reported on Sunday, but not all authorities send their data to the RKI on the weekend.

The deputy head of the FDP parliamentary group, Michael Theurer, called for a “completely overhauled test strategy” instead of unsettling people “at an inopportune time” with a debate about mask requirements, Theurer said on Sunday. Currently around 50 percent of new infections can be traced back to travelers returning.

In view of the most recent breakdowns in the registration of travelers returning from corona risk areas, the federal government is meanwhile planning to register holidaymakers electronically in the future. According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, travelers returning from risk areas should still be able to fill out the current analogue exit card using an online form.


Who is the virologist Hendrik Streeck?

DGermany is currently divided into two: some play in Team Drosten, others in Team Streeck. One is a virologist in Berlin, the other a virologist in Bonn. One warns of a second wave and hasty loosening, the other assesses the virus as less dangerous. Christian Drosten and Hendrik Streeck know each other well, exchanged regularly until Easter. Since then there has been silence between the two scientists who are currently moving the Republic. Six years of age separate the two. Streeck, the younger, looks almost youthful at 42. Looks like a model, not a scientist. Streeck likes to laugh, shows a happy face, which some find inappropriate. After all, we are living in a crisis, and a scientist from the beating of a Drosten with his mostly serious expression seems to fit in better for many.

What they have in common is that they are extremely hostile. They only do their job as scientists. The decisions that result from it make others. Both value that they do not make any political recommendations, they give their opinion, but do not close or open schools and day-care centers, beer gardens and shops.


Controversy over further corona loosening

Z.At the start of the week, the restrictions applicable due to the corona pandemic are further relaxed in many federal states. Hairdressers are allowed to reopen their salons, hundreds of thousands of pupils can study in schools again. Last week, the federal and state governments had already agreed to allow services and open playgrounds. Museums and zoos are also expected to receive visitors in many places, all subject to hygiene requirements.

But the discussion about further easing continues. The next Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel and the prime ministers of the federal states will give advice again. Further steps are expected from the conversation than from last Wednesday, when the current steps were decided. The economy in particular is putting massive pressure in the face of the economic downturn.

According to a “picture” report, the federal states want to enforce a relaxation of the ban on contacts in advice. In a preparatory conference call by the heads of the state chancellery, it was said that meetings of up to five people could be allowed again – as was the case this Monday in Saxony-Anhalt, reports the newspaper (online). So far, there has been a limit of two people who do not belong to the same household.

Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU), who is currently Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Conference, said in the ARD program “Anne Will” on Sunday evening when asked about this expansion: “I don’t know about that.” And: “There is a lot of talk.”

On the subject of football, the newspaper wrote about the conference call: “For the approval of so-called ghost games of the Bundesliga (without spectators in the stadium) planned for May, a regulation should be found to broadcast these games on public TV.” The background is that the current Season of the subscription broadcaster Sky had the television rights and the country heads feared that there could be real Sky parties of football fans.

Solutions for Bundesliga and popular sports

North Rhine-Westphalia threatens to go it alone with the daycare centers if the federal / state group does not decide on a uniform opening course. “We will not allow ourselves to be put off for another week,” said the Vice Prime Minister and Family Minister Joachim Stamp (FDP) in the “Morning Briefing” podcast by Gabor Steingart.

Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) warned of caution, but announced that on Wednesday there would be talk about the Bundesliga games such as grassroots sport, about opening schools to other age groups and about gastronomy. According to the “picture”, a plan for opening the restaurants before Pentecost should be presented. Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) said on the ARD: “It is important that we also give a perspective there. I think that will happen on Wednesday. “

Finance minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced with “Anne Will” that the coalition plans to launch an economic stimulus package in late May or early June to boost economic activity. Söder also confirmed this schedule.

Seehofer also gave ZDF the benchmark for more openings: “I want us to gradually loosen up in the light of infection development.” Like Spahn, he considers loosening steps to be feasible only because of the restrictions and the discipline Have enabled citizens to curb the spread of the virus. It is not defeated, and Spahn also believes it may take years to find a vaccine, he said.

Left-wing chairwoman Katja Kipping, however, is calling for an “exit from the spiral of easing debate”. Looking at their supporters, she said in the “Tagesspiegel” in Berlin: “What we (FDP chief Christian) Lindner, (NRW Prime Minister Armin) Laschet and Co. sell as an exit strategy does not lead us out of the corona crisis, but in a second wave of infection. ”That costs the economy and people more than an extended lockdown.

The changes at the start of the week:

For many Hairdressers is actually closed on Mondays – but this time many salons will open: After around six weeks of compulsory break, the industry expects a rush to reopen. Due to the distance restrictions, fewer people can be served at the same time. “Face-related services” such as eyebrow and eyelash coloring and beard care are prohibited.

In many countries, those are now coming after the final grades student back on a daily basis, who will have final exams in the next school year, as well as the top elementary school classes. Distance regulations and hygiene requirements apply to avoid a feared surge in the number of infections. The children of the other grades initially stay at home.

In some countries such as Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Rhineland-Palatinate, everyone is allowed to start again this week businesses open – regardless of your range and also with more than the previous maximum value of 800 square meters of retail space. However, you must comply with requirements. For example, a mask requirement and a limitation of people per square meter apply. Others such as Brandenburg and Hamburg remain with the limitation for the time being. In other countries such as North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria, the regulation applies with exceptions.

The nationwide regulations remain in effect almost everywhere Contact restrictions – the exception is Saxony-Anhalt. There, the black-red-green state government decided on Saturday that groups of up to five instead of two people were allowed to meet from Monday – provided the minimum distance of 1.5 meters was observed. This allows numerous loosenings, for example in club sports, but also in educational offers.


Confusion about the number of reproductions in Bavaria

Lothar Wieler, the president of the Robert Koch Institute, has spoken out in favor of testing people for an infection with Sars-CoV-2 who have no symptoms but who work in care facilities, for example. Last week there were 860,000 tests available in Germany, more than ever before. However, only 467,000 of these were used. About 25,000 of these tests were positive, and some people were tested several times.

Wieler said that increasing test capacities could increase the official number of positive cases in the future. It is therefore not always the absolute cases that alone are decisive for the evaluation of the development, but the quota. “It is our task to convey and assess this.” Wieler appealed to the population to continue to abide by the contact restrictions: “Hold on! Then we can keep the virus at bay. “

He affirmed that Germany was still at the beginning of a marathon to overcome the crisis. The pandemic is only under control when the so-called epidemic of the population is between 60 and 70 percent. At present, Germany is in the single-digit percentage range. The majority of scientists assume a second and maybe even a third wave. “The virus is in our country, it will remain in our country for months.” Wieler does not yet see the time for so-called immunity passes. There are still too many unanswered questions about when and how long a person is really immune.

Wieler: Wearing masks is important

According to the RKI, 159,119 infections had been reported in Germany by Thursday, an increase of 1,478 compared to the previous day. 6,288 people died (plus 173) in connection with Covid-19, and about 123,500 recovered. According to RKI findings, the number of corona deaths in Germany is increasing. “We see that mortality is increasing in Germany,” said Wieler. “And we assume that more people have died from it than have been reported.” People are most likely to get infected in hospitals. “That’s why wearing masks is so important.” According to Wieler, the so-called number of reproductions is currently 0.76.

Because of different calculation methods and different results, there is now confusion in Bavaria about this number. Prime Minister Markus Söder announced the value of 0.57 on Monday after a meeting of the CSU board. On this basis, FDP parliamentary group leader Martin Hagen called for a relaxation of measures against the pandemic. But the number does not match the nationwide value of around 0.9 that the RKI has given in the past few days. The background is that various calculation approaches were used, as the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety (LGL) in Erlangen has now explained.

Accordingly, on April 26 the RKI estimated the number of reproductions (as of April 22) for Bavaria at 0.9. According to the calculation method to which Söder referred, R was only 0.57 (data status as of April 23). Other federal states such as Baden-Württemberg, however, always refer to the calculation method chosen by the RKI for the declared values.

The reproduction number R is one of the central values ​​for assessing the course of an infection wave and has triggered several controversial discussions in the past few days. It shows how many people are infected on average in a certain period of time. The lower R is, the better. If R is less than 1, an infected person infects less than another person on average – and the epidemic ends. If R is greater than 1, an infected person infects more than another person on average – the number of new infections every day increases. (Read detailed information on the number of reproductions here)

The calculation of the reproduction rate is complex due to various factors and estimates. There are also various calculation approaches, as a LGL spokesman explained:

The LGL makes it clear that both procedures have a different focus: in the first case it is about the reporting and transmission process, in the second it is about the presumable course of illness. Both calculations would be observed and used in Bavaria.

The crux of the matter is that – for example at press conferences – the exact calculation methods and influencing factors are often hardly communicated.


Who leads the race to the Corona vaccine?

Es is the only plan against the pandemic virus with universal validity: hold out until the vaccination. And it is probably the only real constant in this epidemic situation, which is increasingly burdened by political and emotional change.

Joachim Müller-Jung

Editor in the feature section, responsible for the “Nature and Science” department.

Everyone involved in the research and approval of a vaccine – scientific institutes, biotech companies, the pharmaceutical industry and the authorities – is feeling tremendous pressure. Everything has to go as quickly as possible: And not just because the whole world is waiting for the vaccine, but also because you should be faster than the competition. One thing is clear: the country on whose soil the first vaccine is brought to market has a huge advantage.

This raises the question of what wins the upper hand in the race for vaccine: selfishness or solidarity? Bill Gates, who is particularly committed to the fair distribution of a corona vaccine to the poor and the forgotten, is already the target of a smear campaign in the United States. People who want to see President Donald Trump’s “America First” slogan realized on this issue also wish him to jail.

However, in the early months of the pandemic, there were calls for a global Marshall Plan in vaccine development. Under the umbrella of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the national Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), companies, research institutes, medical organizations and governments are trying to find a common way to organize vaccine supply at an early stage. The WHO, the EU, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations and the African Union have announced the start of a major “funding marathon”. At least 7.5 billion euros are to be collected.

At the beginning of May, Chancellor Angela Merkel, who insisted early on that a vaccine should become “a public good”, was to co-host a donor conference. The President of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, has already called for national concepts for a “staggered distribution” of the valuable serum: medical personnel and risk persons first. Even the debate about mandatory corona vaccination is getting underway. Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) said he was “open” to it.

While the distribution is already being debated, there is still a long way to go to get the vaccine. At least 78 projects with 115 drug candidates have already been launched, but huge hurdles have to be overcome. Some of them are of a basic nature. A vaccine is not given to people who are ill like a medication, but is to be administered to healthy people, who therefore need to be particularly well protected against possible side effects. With billions of people who do not yet have immunity and want to be vaccinated, even rare side effects can become a perceived mass problem in a networked world.


Criticism of Bundesliga for ghost game plans

DThe German Foundation for Patient Protection has criticized the plans of the German Football League (DFL) to host ghost games soon. “It is arrogant and arrogant in which way the German Football League wants to secure priority for Covid 19 tests. In view of the suffering of the Corona crisis, this is indecent, ”said board member Eugen Brysch in an interview with the ZDF online news service.

In contrast, DFL boss Christian Seifert had only repeatedly stressed on Thursday not to claim any special role for football and to leave the decision to restart play to the political decision-makers. There have also been repeated reports in the past few days that the laboratories are underutilized. To this end, the DFL had concluded a cooperation agreement with a total of five laboratory associations, which had assured that the current capacities are sufficient and that Covid-19 will not limit the test capacities. The DFL is expecting around 20,000 tests to carry out the remaining match days.

Political demands

On May 9, the Bundesliga could continue its season after almost two months off Corona. Prime Minister Markus Söder (Bavaria) and Armin Laschet (North Rhine-Westphalia) brought this date into discussion on Monday. “Such deals will not get any better if they have the blessings of the Federal Minister of Health and some prime ministers,” added Brysch, who asked the politicians to work for “the systematic testing of high-risk patients, their relatives, nurses and doctors”.

The Vice President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lars Schaade, has tended to give a positive rating to a concept by the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) on occupational safety and health when the Bundesliga could start again. “What is in there and what concerns the considerations to solve that with a quarantine: That seem to me to be quite reasonable considerations,” said Schaade on Friday.

He does not see the RKI as responsible for the final evaluation of the plans to restart the game. It is an occupational safety problem. “These are soccer professionals. That is their job, and so there is a concept that has been drawn up from the occupational health and safety side, ”he explained.

In the ministry draft, which was initially reported by “Spiegel”, a permanent quarantine is proposed as an option for all persons involved in the game until the end of the season. The isolation could take place in sufficiently large hotels, for example. In addition, the Federal Ministry of Labor is also considering a proposal to let professionals play with face masks to protect against the corona virus, which the F.A.Z. reported. This emerges from the ministry’s paper in response to the hygiene concept of the German Football League (DFL). The paper was the first draft at the working level, said a ministry spokesman.

According to this, players and referees should wear mouth-nose protection according to medical standards during the games. These should not slip during the game, otherwise the game must be interrupted immediately. There should also be an interruption every 15 minutes so that the masks could be replaced.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Labor said that they were in discussions with the DFL on occupational health and safety issues if the game could resume. “Our aim is to find practicable solutions that are also widely accepted.” The decision to restart games is not made by the Federal Ministry of Labor.