Emergency brake talk at Anne Will: curfew causes wild election campaign Zoff

The “Federal Emergency Brake” including curfew heated the minds of the panel discussion at Anne Will. Economics minister Altmaier and FDP boss Lindner rage in election campaign mode, solutions fall by the wayside despite an appeal from doctors.

A few hours earlier, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier mourned almost 80,000 corona deaths in Germany at a memorial service in Berlin. Later on, things get hot in Anne Will’s studio during her panel discussion, because the third wave continues to rule – and the dispute over the “federal emergency brake” is heating up people’s minds. The tightening of the Infection Protection Act is to be passed in the Bundestag on Wednesday. But the criticism is great, especially the nocturnal exit restrictions were targeted.

Whether the “Federal Emergency Brake” could reduce the number of infections sufficiently is the main topic of ARD talk show host Will. The problem: There is no virologist invited in the group and with Michael Hallek, the director of internal medicine at Cologne University Hospital, only an expert from medical science. And so the wild round table degenerates into party skirmishes with many verbal attacks and interrupters. Election campaign profiling and frictions with alpha animals, as if a Bundestag debate were taking place. A useful discussion in the fight against the corona pandemic? Nothing.

“This situation has come with an announcement”

The program begins quite dramatically when Hallek tells from his hospital, where he sees many patients every day, “who are fighting for their lives or are afraid that they will not get enough air”. Two thirds of the country’s hospitals with intensive care units are no longer receptive. “We don’t have any more time,” says the hospital director urgently. Politicians need quick and well-thought-out decisions.

Hallek criticizes: “This situation was announced. Experts have been warning of the situation we have now since the beginning of January. Many people suffer and die without it being necessary.” There is already a kind of “soft triage” in the clinics, interventions and operations are postponed and operating theaters are closed. An enormous risk for patients who have been waiting weeks for various interventions.

In order for this dramatic situation to be improved, social contacts must be restricted more. All of the panelists also know this. Only their approaches to the subject are extremely different. And so begins the wild election campaign scuffle. Peter Altmaier first of all praises the emergency brake as “the fastest legislative procedure in recent years”. Anne Will insists that Chancellor Angela Merkel announced changes within 14 days three weeks ago. The CDU economics minister writhes for the first time (will happen more often in the course of the program) and defends himself slightly indignantly that the government can only act within the limits of democracy.

“Either this law or the pandemic is spreading”

A first non-verbal poison arrow shoots across from Christian Lindner, who, knowing full well about the positioning of the TV camera, shakes his head vehemently and particularly clearly visible for everyone. Then the FDP party chairman, who had already announced a constitutional lawsuit against the “federal emergency brake”, is on course for a verbal attack. The failed Easter rest “shook confidence in the government”.

And now the exit restrictions too. Lindner complains that he feels as if he is being presented with a “sham alternative”: “Either this law or the pandemic is spreading.” Changes in the legal text are required, because “it is about the fundamental rights of the people”. As in the days before, he brings the vaccinated couple into play, who are then no longer allowed to go for a walk in the evening.

Next, Melanie Amann, head of the “Spiegel” capital office, attacked Lindner to slow down the legislative process, which visibly angered the FDP man. For the journalist, exit restrictions are correct: “It is the duty of the state to protect the life and health of its citizens. Only then does the protection of freedom of movement come about.”

Katrin Göring-Eckardt, however, criticizes the federal government’s draft law as “ineffective” and too lax because it “does not tackle the world of work, where there are many infections”. That, in turn, upsets Federal Minister of Economics Altmaier. At first he just shakes his blushed head. Then the Greens parliamentary group leader in the Bundestag attacks the CDU man directly: There must be real obligations in the labor sector for home office and tests for employees. “However, Mr. Altmaier has discussed this with the trade associations in order to weaken this further.” And “a curfew should only come when all other options have been exhausted”.

Would you rather curfew than strict rules for businesses and companies? Altmaier is writhing again. “At the ministry, 75 percent work from home,” he notes. “You’re distracting,” Goering-Eckardt fired at him. “There are also many people who work in the office and want to exchange ideas with colleagues,” replied the CDU man. Anne Will loudly interrupts why he would be against mandatory tests in offices or the obligation to work from home and asks about the recent interview in which the Federal Economics Minister said that there was no scientific evidence for workplaces as a pandemic driver.

“We don’t need a test obligation for the world of work”

Altmaier counters with another physical deformation: “I only said that there are mainly infections in the private sphere.” Göring-Eckardt replied: “But the factories come right after.” Then Altmaier again: “We also have an obligation to offer tests in companies”. “But only once a week,” criticizes Anne Will.

Göring-Eckardt then also wants a concrete answer from Lindner as to how he feels on the subject. “We do not need a test obligation for the world of work,” explains the FDP man. Journalist Amann, on the other hand, doesn’t like that at all: “I don’t have the arguments from you why there shouldn’t be any compulsory duties like in schools.” Lindner: “It doesn’t do much good.” The FDP boss countered with an attack on the federal government, which would not have answered his letter with criticism of the emergency brake including curfew. Even a bright red Altmaier now uses the chance to attack: “You don’t make any suggestions, you just always criticize”. An indignant Lindner interrupts: “Yes, I’ll do it right away.”

After another interruption and exchange of blows (Altmaier insists: “I let everyone finish speaking”; Laughter from Will and Göring-Eckardt; Altmaier interrupts Amann; the journalist railed: “Now I’ll finish, please!”) Hallek is allowed to Give back a little more depth to the discussion group. “There is no reason to deal with companies differently than with kindergartens and schools,” says the doctor. But above all: “It needs a real goal from the federal government”, not just individual measures such as emergency brakes or curfews, “not always this small-small”.

And suddenly Hallek silences the group. “In the hospitals we get the feeling that our democracy is not coping with the pandemic in such a way that we and our patients can feel safe,” he explains urgently. “It is up to you to restore that confidence.” It would be up to the parties “not to work against each other because it is the year of the Chancellor’s election”, but rather they would have to “put the election campaign aside” and quickly jointly initiate uniform and universally applicable measures to combat pandemics.

No agreement, no unity, no answer to the initial question of the show: The controversial election campaigners prove to Anne Will that they are hardly capable of this solidarity-based cooperation even in the corona pandemic.