US Covid-19: Söder calls for nationwide corona traffic lights

23:05  27 september  2020
23:05  27 september  2020 Source:   sueddeutsche.de

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Bavaria's head of government advocates a catalog with uniform measures for high numbers of infections. The Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Dreyer brakes - and pushes for a new test strategy.

Söder calls for nationwide corona traffic lights

In view of the sometimes threatening growth in the spread of the corona virus in Germany, individual state governments are calling for more clarity in the nationwide strategy to combat the pandemic. Two days before a switching conference between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 Prime Ministers, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) told Süddeutsche Zeitung on Sunday: "We now need a binding, proportionate and reliable set of rules for the winter." Söder suggests introducing a corona warning light for all federal states and wants uniform guidelines on which measures should be taken if the number of infected people exceeds the threshold values.

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Söders Rhineland-Palatinate official colleague Malu Dreyer (SPD) is also campaigning for a nationwide alarm system and a uniform catalog of protective measures, which the states can apply flexibly in the event of corona outbreaks. However, with a view to the approaching autumn vacation, the Prime Minister is particularly urging that the federal government present its new test strategy and updated quarantine regulations this week. At the end of the week, the autumn holidays begin in four federal states, Rhineland-Palatinate and six other states follow a week later. "People have a right to know what to expect," Dreyer told the SZ.

Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) recently announced that the new strategy would not be presented until October 15. According to Dreyer, October 1st was originally agreed. In the future, Spahn wants to pay more attention to risk groups such as the elderly and those in need of care. The new concept should also include rapid tests. At the same time, digital registration is to be introduced for people entering from risk areas. The quarantine period should be shortened.

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According to Söder's proposal for a uniform warning system, the corona traffic light jumps to yellow if there are 35 or more infected people per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days in a district or a municipality. To prevent further spread of the virus, for example, preventive tests could be ordered for risk groups, spectators no longer allowed at sporting events of supra-regional importance - for example, Bundesliga games - and the mask requirement in schools could be extended to classes from the 5th grade onwards.

If the number rises to 50 infected people, the number of participants allowed at private events should be reduced to a quarter of the current number. In addition, restrictions on the sale of alcohol and earlier curfew hours should be possible. Duplicate tests are intended to increase the reliability of the detection of infections. In public places, where distances are difficult to maintain, the proposal then provides for a mask requirement. The Association of Towns and Municipalities also made a corresponding demand at the weekend. The county council called for an upper limit for private celebrations of 50 participants. With higher numbers, the tracking of infection chains becomes "extremely difficult" according to President Reinhard Sager.

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Söder's advance received new nourishment at the weekend from the development in Munich. According to figures from the Bavarian state government, the number of infected people rose by 111 cases from Saturday to Sunday, of which 88 infections were due to just three private events, 46 to a wedding ceremony alone. The Robert Koch Institute reported 1411 new infections nationwide on Sunday. As always, that number was lower over the weekend because not all health departments updated their information. On Saturday, the number of new infections was 2507, the highest level since April.

"Where the infections are high, binding action must be taken," said Söder. According to his ideas, the uniform set of rules should apply “everywhere in Germany according to regional infection events”. It should represent a guideline, the concrete handling of which, however, is still incumbent on the municipalities and districts. Exceptions are corona outbreaks in areas that can be isolated immediately.

Prime Minister Dreyer supports a nationwide alarm system in principle, but rejects the image of the traffic light. In a pandemic, the signs would never be green. "That leads to a false security," said the Mainz head of government. She advocated a "nationwide catalog of effective protective measures that is always up to date with the latest scientific knowledge". The federal government must bundle this expertise. However, the federal states need the flexibility they need to proceed "precisely", according to Dreyer.

"The virus does not stop at national borders, but it makes a difference whether I live in a region with high or low numbers of infections and whether or not a lot of people tend to come together," said Dreyer.

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