No acute measures for Corona: traffic light gives the virus two weeks

No acute measures for Corona
Traffic light gives the virus two weeks

From Frauke Niemeyer

One billion euros for bonuses to the nurses, the crisis team and the expert group in the Chancellery – the new decisions of the future traffic light government sound decisive and sensible. However, they do not help against the dramatic spread of the virus these days.

Traffic light coalitionists need to be aware that their first response to the pandemic threat did not hit the bull’s eye. There was a lot of scolding a week ago for the Bundestag decision to let the “epidemic situation of national scope” expire. The Infection Protection Act passed at the same time with the new majority of the SPD, Greens and FDP: too lukewarm, too timid, not appropriate to the force of this catastrophe.

It was not a good start for the future government in its fight against Corona. Since then, the traffic light parties have continued to negotiate and the virus has raged on: From 43,628 new infections on the day of the decision last week, the number of newly infected rose to 66,884 on Wednesday . A number that Olaf Scholz has on his neck when he takes a stand on the stage in the converted brick warehouse on the corona situation after the bosses of the three parties have lined up next to him. The word “coalition agreement” has not even been used.

The virus has not been defeated, day after day “we are reaching new records in terms of the number of infections,” says the future Chancellor. The intensive care units reached their limits in some places. “The situation is serious.” The decisive factor now is the consistent implementation of the rules on 2G and 2Gplus in public spaces, explains Scholz, who also advocates taking the same thing to heart during private encounters – “vaccinate and test daily to protect us and our loved ones” – before opposing it What the traffic light partners are currently accused of by many: that what they have initiated in this emergency is simply not enough.

The traffic light did not listen to Merkel

It is not publicly known whether Angela Merkel accused them of this the evening before. But that she has made “the extraordinary seriousness of the situation” clear, is how government spokesman Steffen Seibert describes the outgoing Chancellor’s conversation, to which she had invited the top staff of the future governing parties to the Chancellery.

An immediate lockdown for the unvaccinated and vaccinated – therefore all – is said to have suggested Scholz, FDP leader Christian Lindner, Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, the top duo of the Greens, reports the “Bild” newspaper. The SPD, Greens and FDP would have rejected this proposal.

Olaf Scholz now presents what the future government wants to do instead, broken down into seven points. That sounds like structure and determination: A permanent federal-state crisis team is to be set up in the Chancellery. Many have actually asked themselves for months why the grand coalition did not consider it sensible or necessary for a year and a half to bundle the corona policy in such a body. The fight against the pandemic could therefore be more coherent in the future.

To this end, the traffic light coalitionists want to have the corona situation assessed daily by a group of experts. “Virologists, epidemiologists, sociologists, psychologists”, Scholz enumerates as an example and expects their scientific expertise to help “in order to come to intelligent knowledge”.

One billion for nurses

The capacities of the vaccination centers are to be “significantly” expanded, mobile teams are to be “on the move in cities and regions”, doctors and pharmacies want to be “more involved”. At this point, Scholz has reached point 4, which, however, only concerns the consistent implementation of the long-running vaccinations for vulnerable groups – no new idea, no strategic improvement.

The billion that you want to make available for bonuses to nursing staff sounds like a deliberate differentiation from the policy of the Ministry of Health in summer 2020. At that time, Jens Spahn initially limited the bonus payments to employees in geriatric care, only gradually became the group of recipients and receiver expanded, which earned him the accusation of stinginess in the industry. In view of the fourth wave, hospitals and nursing homes have to complain about a significant decline in staff, as many nurses left their jobs exhausted. The billion should now counteract this in a striking way.

Before it actually comes to the sealed contract for future cooperation, the traffic light coalition can score with three specific resolutions that are intended to demonstrate the future government’s ability to act. On closer inspection, however, one thing becomes clear: all three points – care bonus, expert committee, crisis team – are measures that do not address the current exponential increase in the number of new infections.

In the medium term, the continuous advice and coordination will pay off, as will the recognition for care workers who have another winter in a state of emergency ahead of them. However, these resolutions do not help against the steep rise in the infection curve by several thousand cases a week. However, many experts doubt that the 2G and 2G-plus restrictions are sufficient to curb the extreme dynamics of the acute infection process.

How should Saxony and Bavaria continue?

After four points of determination in the medium term, Scholz switched to the subjunctive on the subject of job-related compulsory vaccination: In facilities in which particularly vulnerable groups are cared for, “we should make vaccination compulsory”. That doesn’t sound like this law, urgently requested by the conference of country leaders last week, is already on its way and will soon be ready for a decision. The House of Spahn had already started drafting it for the subsequent government.

“Should” sounds more deliberate to Scholz than even the FDP, which for a long time was strictly against any form of compulsory vaccination, recently presented. The SPD man only suggests the possibility of a general vaccination requirement. An expansion of the job-related vaccination requirement remains “to be examined”.

The question of how Saxony and Bavaria should continue as hotspot federal states in mid-December if some of the measures they are currently using are no longer available in accordance with the Infection Protection Act remains unanswered on this day. Although a journalist specifically asked about it. On December 9th, the country leaders want to connect with the – then presumably incumbent – Federal Chancellor in order to evaluate the new law. The virus has two more weeks until then.

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