BERLIN – The fourth coronavirus wave has hit Germany’s next government.
Monday record weekly number of new coronavirus infections led the three parties to try to implement a coalition agreement to speed up a set of proposals to limit an increase that has been driven by Germany’s relatively low vaccination rate.
“I worry more and more every day about how the fourth wave is affecting our country right now – this is very dramatic,” said Katrin Göring-Eckardt, parliamentary group leader for the Greens, who is trying to form an alliance with the center. left the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Liberal Free Democrats (FDP).
Speaking in Berlin, Göring-Eckardt said it would be crucial to reintroduce free coronavirus tests, which were phased out last month; to ensure that hospitals can handle an increase in severe cases; and to improve safety in the workplace. She also expressed sympathy for rules adopted in Austria and some German regions that require people to be vaccinated or recover from COVID-19 to gain access to restaurants or shopping malls.
“I’m very much in favor of sending letters now to people who can get a third vaccination,” Göring-Eckardt said, stressing the importance of eligible people getting booster shots, like intensive beds. refilled at dangerous prices in some parts of the country.
Also on Monday, government spokeswoman Steffen Seibert said outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel saw plans to reintroduce free tests. “positive, while the FDP whips Marco Buschmann called for “a strict testing obligation, not just for the unvaccinated … in nursing homes for the elderly,” to prevent the virus from entering institutions with vulnerable residents.
This time is different
But even though infection rates are as high as a year ago, when Germany closed bars and restaurants on November 1 and all unnecessary shops in December, the country is not on as high alert as it was then, when close to 70 percent of the Germans have been fully vaccinated.
This is also the reason why outgoing Minister of Health Jens Spahn – from the conservative CDU – and the three parties hoping to form the next government have spoken out against an extension of special powers that serve as the legal basis for most coronavirus restrictions. , which is due to expire on 25 November.
Asked why she was also opposed to such an extension, Göring-Eckardt said she was “very concerned that we … would end up in a situation where the courts would overturn the rules,” due to a lack of proportionality in relation to the measures. widely available vaccines.
Marco Buschmann took a similar view, arguing that the availability of vaccines made it a constitutional necessity to limit the scope of the executive again. “Our liberal constitution is quite simple: if it is not necessary to intervene in the separation of powers, then it is necessary not to intervene in the separation of powers,” he said.
Göring-Eckardt said that the future coalition parties, which have a majority in the newly constituted parliament, will present their bill on Monday. Parliament will meet for the first reading of the bill on Thursday and next week for the second and third readings.