Berlin After the decision by the federal and state governments to make vaccinations compulsory in medical professions, there are increasing demands to extend the measure to the general public. “I believe that this has to be the case in order to permanently break these waves,” said Hesse’s Prime Minister Volker Bouffier (CDU) on Tuesday in Wiesbaden. All previous attempts to increase the vaccination rate have failed. “Either we go from wave to wave, restricting each time, or we succeed in increasing the vaccination status.”
Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Schleswig-Holstein also insist that the general vaccination requirement be introduced quickly. The Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) said the measure would help in the fight against the corona virus and also reduce polarization in society. The state could thus pull the existing conflict between vaccination supporters and vaccination opponents, said Kretschmann in Stuttgart.
The mandatory vaccination could be implemented with fines, said Kretschmann. But he couldn’t imagine the police picking up people to be vaccinated and refusing to end up in prison.
Kretschmann also spoke up in a joint guest article with Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”, in which they declared: “A vaccination requirement is not a violation of civil liberties. Rather, it is the prerequisite for us to regain our freedom. ”
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Schleswig-Holstein’s Deputy Prime Minister Monika Heinold (Greens) even called for the measure to be introduced at the turn of the year. “In view of the dramatic development of the corona pandemic and the acute emergency situation in many clinics, the introduction of a general compulsory vaccination from January 1, 2022 is the right way to go,” she said. “So that we have a chance to get out of the loop of the pandemic.”
Other federal states, on the other hand, were much more cautious. NRW Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) called for a thorough examination. Bremen’s Mayor Andreas Bovenschulte (SPD) said that compulsory vaccinations would come too late to stop the fourth corona wave, but could “certainly not be ruled out for the future with a view to the nationwide situation”.
The Rhineland-Palatinate state chief Malu Dreyer (SPD) at least welcomed the debate. And Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) sees the measure as the last resort in the pandemic. Against this, Saarland’s Prime Minister Tobias Hans, the acting Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (both CDU) and FDP parliamentary group vice-Michael Theurer opposed.
Traffic light decides on compulsory vaccination
The question of whether the compulsory vaccination should only apply in certain professional groups was controversial until recently. At their meeting last Thursday, the Prime Minister asked the federal government to introduce mandatory vaccination for all employees in certain facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes. The parties to a possible traffic light government of the SPD, Greens and FDP are currently negotiating on the issue, with the Greens already clearly speaking out in favor of such a measure.
The parliamentary group of the FDP, in turn, had an internal parliamentary hearing evaluated last Friday. The FDP said that a “carefully prepared legislative procedure in view of the significance of the encroachment on fundamental rights” is necessary when making a decision. The measure is less controversial in the SPD. A vaccination requirement in certain facilities is needed before Christmas, said the deputy SPD parliamentary group leader Dirk Wiese. This measure should also apply to schools and daycare centers.
The Ethics Council should again be involved in the debate about a general vaccination requirement. “We will make this possible in the German Bundestag.” SPD Vice Anke Rehlinger became clearer. “The yo-yo pandemic will only end if the vaccination gap is closed”, she wrote on Twitter. In order to prevent a fifth or even a sixth wave, Germany should introduce compulsory vaccinations.
3G at work and on buses and trains: New rule from Wednesday
From Wednesday, stricter corona rules will also apply in Germany. Then the changes to the Infection Protection Act decided by the traffic light groups come into force. This includes rules for 3G at work, on buses and trains. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) signed the law with the new requirements on Monday. Nationwide exit restrictions and school closings no longer exist with the new law. However, it should already be evaluated on December 9th in a federal-state round and, if necessary, refined.
According to the law, passengers on long-distance and regional trains as well as on buses and trams will have to be vaccinated, recovered or tested. Deutsche Bahn announced corresponding controls on Tuesday. These are to be carried out randomly by the security and control staff, it said.
“In long-distance traffic alone, checks are planned on 400 connections in the first few days after the new rules come into force,” said the company. Should passengers have to be excluded from the journey because they did not follow the so-called 3G rules, the employees could ask the federal police for assistance. The rail unions EVG and GDL had criticized the new rules in rail traffic. They fear an additional burden on the train attendants.
“The employees of the railway are not deputy sheriffs, that has to be a matter for the federal police,” said the deputy chairman of the railway and transport union (EVG), Martin Burkert, last week. GDL boss Claus Weselsky agreed with him: “The train staff cannot take control of the 3G regulations. Anyone who demands that has no idea about railways, ”he told the newspaper“ Die Welt ”.
Home office obligation for employees
The 3G rule will also apply to the workplace in connection with a home office requirement. As of Wednesday, companies must check and document the access rules for employees on a daily basis. Once the employer has checked and documented a recovery or vaccination certificate, the respective employees can be excluded from the daily checks. Employers should also offer free tests at least twice a week. Business associations such as the employers’ association BDA see a lot of bureaucratic effort for companies in this.
The employers’ association Südwestmetall even expects that not all companies will be able to implement the rule properly. “We fear that a number of employers, including unwanted employees, will get into a mess,” says Managing Director Peer-Michael Dick. Some companies could not organize the controls so quickly or are unsure how they can carry them out in accordance with data protection regulations.
On Tuesday, several federal states also discussed stricter corona rules. North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony announced a nationwide 2G rule that will apply from Wednesday. Berlin, in turn, agreed on the 2G rule for retailers. In addition, additional requirements such as mask and test obligations will soon apply (2G plus).
Hamburg also expanded the existing 2G rule. From next Monday, the rule will also apply there for the cultural sector and for accommodation providers. Saxony-Anhalt announced similar plans for the leisure sector.
Thuringia prepares the transfer of patients
Thuringia, where the infection rate is particularly dramatic, decided extensive restrictions on public life. Clubs, bars and discos are to be closed, Christmas markets are banned, and a curfew at 10 p.m. is to apply in restaurants. Swimming pools, leisure pools, saunas and thermal baths must also close. There are exceptions for school sports.
The new Corona Ordinance sometimes makes a strong distinction according to people’s vaccination status. For those who have neither been vaccinated nor recovered from Covid 19 disease, a nightly curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. will apply. Unvaccinated people also face contact restrictions. In addition, a 2G regulation will apply in many areas of public life from Wednesday.
The situation in Thuringia’s hospitals is particularly worrying. As of Tuesday, more than a third of the intensive care beds available in the country were occupied by Covid-19 patients. The hospitalization rate was by far the highest nationwide at 18.3 corona patients per 100,000 inhabitants in a seven-day period. The state is currently preparing to move hospital patients to other federal states.
In view of the infection situation, a majority of Germans also expect further restrictions throughout Germany. 71 percent think a new lockdown over Christmas is likely, according to a survey by the polling institute Yougov.
With agency material
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