1. GA-English

Video conference: Federal Government and Bundesländer appeal: Reduce contacts even more

Video conference : Federal Government and Bundesländer appeal: Reduce contacts even more

No further tightening of the anti-corona rules is in place - not yet. Instead, there is an appeal to meet even fewer other people. If that is not enough, there might be more rules added next week.

The Federal Government and the Länder have agreed not to issue any further bans and binding restrictions to contain the corona pandemic for the next few days. Schools are also to remain open.

After a video conference on Monday evening, however, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the Minister Presidents urgently called on citizens to reduce their private contacts significantly once again. On 25 November, further consultations and - if the number of infected and seriously ill people has not fallen sharply by then - possibly also further legally binding restrictions are to be introduced.

Since the number of infections is still high, everyone should completely refrain from private parties and limit meetings with friends and acquaintances to a fixed additional household, the resolution of the federal and state governments states. "Any contact that does not take place is good", said Merkel. The Chancellor said that her aim in the consultations next week was to achieve more "predictability" for citizens - even beyond the end of the year.

Merkel stressed that the "exponential growth" of the pandemic had been halted for the time being by the measures adopted at the end of October - but it was clear that "a reversal of the trend had not yet been achieved“.

In future, people at particular risk are to be protected from infection with the corona virus by cheap FFP2 masks. People over 65 years of age and people with certain pre-existing conditions should be able to obtain a total of 15 of these masks for a small personal contribution. According to the decision, the costs will be borne by the Federal Government.

Merkel stressed that financial support should again be provided for clinics which are now postponing operations in favour of corona treatments. This time, she said, it should be better managed than with blanket rules like in the spring. The grand coalition is again planning compensation payments for capacities that have been kept free, but not for all, (but) only for certain clinics in regions with a high number of corona cases. Lower Saxony, Bremen, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg, on the other hand, raised concerns after the discussions.

"I have little hope that all will be well again by the end of November", said Bavarian Minister President Markus Söder (CSU). It was therefore "better to prolong the measures than to stop them prematurely". His watchword was: "In case of doubt, we must rely on security".

Although the number of new infections had begun to stagnate, Söder said, "It is still not enough. The goal must be to reduce the number of new infections to such an extent that chains of infection can be traced again.

At the end of October, the Federal Government and the Länder had decided on new contact restrictions, which would apply from 2 November until the end of the month. A temporary closure of restaurants, bars, clubs and pubs was also agreed. Only the sale of take-away food remained allowed. Hotels were instructed to accommodate only business travellers.

"We have achieved a lot, but by no means enough," emphasised Berlin's governing mayor Michael Müller, (SPD). "The winter months will not be easy," said Müller, who is currently chairman of the Minister President's Conference (MPK).

Schleswig-Holstein's Minister President Daniel Günther (CDU) announced new proposals by the federal states for next Monday. He said it was right to wait and see how the infection situation develops before making further decisions. Now was not the time to think about relaxing or tightening the rules. There was also agreement between the Länder on this.

Baden-Württemberg's Minister President Winfried Kretschmann (Reasons) said: "There is no reason to relax the rules in the coming weeks. Instead, he said, people must "prepare themselves for long, hard winter months“.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the health authorities reported 10,824 new infections within 24 hours to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Monday. Although this is about 6100 cases less than on Sunday, the Monday figure was also lower than on Sunday in recent weeks. Less testing takes place at the weekend. The 7-day incidence was 143 cases in seven days per 100,000 population.

(Original text: (dpa);Translation: Mareike Graepel)