Federal government dampens hopes for rapid new relaxations

Federal government dampens hopes for rapid new relaxations

Federal government and state officials have steamed expectations of sweeping new relaxations of corona restrictions in the bund-lander switch this thursday.

"On this thirtieth. April there will be important preparatory consultations and very limited decisions," said government spokesman steffen seibert on monday after a meeting of the corona cabinet in berlin. Lower saxony’s minister president stephan weil (SPD) made a similar statement. Bavaria’s head of government, markus soder (CSU), announced that he would present his own concepts for easing restrictions on kindergartens, schools and nursing homes next week.

It was expected, however, that the deliberations would include at least the 3. May permanent contact restrictions be required.

Seibert said that the consultations between chancellor angela merkel (CDU) and the prime ministers on thursday came too early to be able to assess the effects of the most recently decided openings of hospitals, for example, on the number of infections. Instead, seibert referred to the next scheduled deliberations on 6. May.

Weil said after a meeting with federal labor minister hubertus heil (both SPD) in hanover about the shift with merkel: "for this week I was not going to raise the expectation horizon too high."The policy must not be allowed to overstretch the scope for further relaxation.

CDU leader annegret kramp-karrenbauer also warned: "talking about massive relaxation when there are 2,000 new infections is a bet that is, I would say, risky."In leipzig, she said it would only make sense at 1000 new infections per day, "or even better at 600 or at 500". She hoped that there would be an understanding with the prime ministers about this.

NRW minister president armin laschet (CDU) had said on sunday evening on ARD that on thursday they would talk primarily about children and young people, about amateur sports, about playgrounds and about how to deal with religious services. The conference of education ministers is to meet by 29. April – the day before the bund-lander switch – to present a concept on how to proceed with breaks, school bus transportation, hygiene and the handling of smaller groups at schools.

The vice president of the CDU’s economic council, friedrich merz, spoke out in favor of cautious relaxation. "I am one of the cautious ones," he said, according to participants in an internal virtual conference of the organization. Although it was clear what problems this would cause, he said. "Nevertheless, it would have been psychologically unusually difficult to reintroduce certain restrictions if the relaxations had gone too far," said merz, who like laschet is running for the CDU presidency. Once the health risks are halay under control, however, the absolute priority must be: "we must make sure that the companies get back up and running again."

The restrictions on cross-border traffic are not expected to end quickly either. The foreign office is seeking common criteria with EU partners on when travel can resume, a spokesman said. The travel warning remains in effect until 3. May. Until then, a decision on the extension must be made. There was a clear expectation that the 2020 vacation season would be different from what we had wanted and were used to.

Soder, who is also head of the CSU, announced after a meeting of the party’s executive committee that bavaria intends to present concepts for easing the corona restrictions for kindergartens, schools and nursing homes by next week. "Actually, the goal should be that before whitsun, every schoolchild has been back to school at least once," he said. There is also a need for action at daycare centers.

According to NRW family minister joachim stamp (FDP), there will be no nationwide cut-off date for the return to daycare centers. In response to a dpa inquiry, he said in dusseldorf: "the states need more freedom in dealing with the pandemic as a whole, because the development varies from region to region."

The chancellor’s office expressly acknowledged regionally adapted reactions to the corona crisis. In reviewing the measures, "it must also be taken into account that the epidemic is not spreading uniformly in germany, but that the situation can vary from region to region," wrote head of the chancellor’s office helge braun (CDU) in an interim assessment of the measures for the deputies of the union and SPD, which was made available to dpa in berlin. "This may mean that restrictions in certain regions will have to be maintained or, after temporary relaxations, tightened again."

The president of the german parliament, wolfgang schauble, caused a variety of reactions with his warning to subordinate everything to the protection of life in the corona crisis. Schauble had told the "tagesspiegel": "if I think that everything else has to take a back seat to the protection of life, then I have to say: that is not right in this absolute sense."If there is an absolute value in the constitution, it is the value of the human being.

Government spokesman seibert said he was not commenting on schauble’s interviews out of respect for the role of the office. Soder said to the auberungen schaubles, these are "an important opinion contribution, like so many in these days. And of course, they are involved in every venture." Grunen chief robert habeck praised schauble for his statement. In democracy, one is always in a dilemma, and politics must now endure this dilemma. Afd faction leader alexander gauland agreed with schauble: "if the treatment of a disease begins to do more harm than the disease itself, then that treatment must be stopped."

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