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Classics opinion: Politicians, be a Corona role model, please!

13:30  24 october  2020
13:30  24 october  2020 Source:   dw.com

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In the pandemic, many politicians are demanding discipline from citizens. But sometimes they don't take the Corona rules too seriously themselves. In times of uncertainty, more caution would be required, says Rosalia Romaniec.

Gesundheitsminister Spahn im Gespräch mit Familienministerin Giffey bei der letzten Kabinettssitzung am Mittwoch © Markus Schreiber / Reuters Health Minister Spahn in conversation with Family Minister Giffey at the last cabinet meeting on Wednesday

When the news of the positive corona test from German Health Minister Jens Spahn became known this week, many thought that half the government was on the same day by Chancellor Angela Merkel goes into quarantine. Spahn had attended the cabinet meeting that morning on the same day. There was discussion, maybe out loud, maybe laughed too. Not all participants always wore masks. As a layperson you think: is it really safe? Quarantine and testing could follow, after all, it's the federal government.

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Be careful

Too fussy? Hardly likely. No matter how well the hall is ventilated, there is a risk wherever people meet. It's about women and men who have many appointments every day and are accompanied by security guards and employees because they rule a country of 80 million people. It is all the more surprising that no one went into quarantine afterwards - even as a precaution. Only one minister is said to have done a voluntary corona test afterwards.

Spahn's spokesman reported on the same day that the minister had "no fever, but cold symptoms". I beg your pardon? Did Jens Spahn go to the cabinet meeting with cold symptoms? No, two days later we will calm down on request. At the meeting, the Federal Minister of Health only noticed his husky voice, after which he had cold symptoms, so he had himself tested for Corona on the same day. Result: positive.

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Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. The Covid-19 pandemic is a global crisis chat is unprecedented in modern peace time. We had other pandemics like SARS, but their impact was less substantial.

Merkel shopping

The fact that Angela Merkel did not issue a test recommendation for all participants, but that her spokesman points out the hygiene concept in the Chancellery, the large room and a modern ventilation system, sounds half-hearted. What is not wrong does not necessarily have to be right. Possible doubts could have been quickly dispelled. A demonstrative sign of particular caution could even help a government that is pushing for strict measures to be observed.

DW-Redakteurin Rosalia Romaniec © DW / B. Geilert DW editor Rosalia Romaniec


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Maybe Merkel is already Corona tired herself. The otherwise so disciplined Chancellor recently made a little slip. In her weekly podcast, she appealed to the people: "Please stay at home whenever possible." And shortly afterwards she was spotted (with a mask) shopping in Berlin department stores.

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It looks like Corona is becoming a full-fledged pandemic in geographic terms, with multiple cases of human to human transmission confirmed in Channel 4 News Deputy Director Public Health England claims threat to UK low and Corona may not be a concern if the Chinese can stamp it out there.

The citizen who meets the otherwise admonishing Chancellor at the checkout thinks in the best case: How nice - Angela Merkel caught shopping. In the worst case, he thinks: Corona - probably not so dangerous if the Chancellor still goes to the department store. It is not an easy time, not even for politicians, but they may underestimate their role model function.

Forgiveness is yet to come.

And something else. Perhaps I wouldn't be so strict if I hadn't been observing a political phenomenon for months anyway: By early summer, we journalists ourselves saw that in the best case scenario, the building employees and media representatives in the Reichstag wore masks. Politicians, on the other hand, moved through the hallways as if they were immune. In the first months of the pandemic, the Reichstag was a universe of its own. The mask requirement in the Bundestag has only been in effect since October 6th.

Back to Jens Spahn. In the past few days he has met umpteen people. Who he was infected with could not be traced. It seems strange that the Berlin health authorities assure that the situation is still under control. You have long been unable to inform all people in good time who would have to go into quarantine. For the sake of fairness: As a precaution, several top politicians have quarantined themselves because there were infections in their environment, for example Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Economics Minister Peter Altmaier and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Jens Spahn wishes everyone he recently met via Twitter that they stay healthy. In early summer he said with foresight that "we will probably have to forgive one another a lot". He'll probably be right.

Author: Rosalia Romaniec

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