Easing of measures in Germany is not yet in sight


Berlin – Union and SPD politicians, unlike Austria and Denmark, see no reason to relax the strict corona measures In Germany. CSU boss Markus Soder warned as Chancellor Angela Merkel before.

SPD general secretary Lars Klingbeil also wrongly called a debate about easing at the moment. Meanwhile, the City Day is concerned about the affordability of tasks in the municipalities and asked for help from the federal government.

Austria and Denmark announced the first easing of the measures on Monday. The neighboring country to the north will go into “the first careful phase of opening” after Easter, as Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said. First, nursery schools, kindergartens and the lower grades of schools are to open again on April 15. In Austria, however, the schools remain closed until mid-May, where shops are supposed to reopen first. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on ARD Monday evening: “We were very, very restrictive and we were very, very quick in our measures.” Therefore, Austria could be started up very carefully and gradually. However, “accompanying measures” such as the requirement to wear a mask are needed in some areas.


Chancellor Merkel said on Monday that it was too early to give a date for easing. Health protection is in the foreground. Most recently, the federal and state governments extended existing contact blocks and further restrictions until April 19 inclusive. Another federal-state meeting is planned for next week.

CSU boss Soder said on ARD that Austria was about three weeks ahead. In Germany, it is now better advised to continue the measures and to wait for their effects. There could also be “bright spots” where one could develop further. This path must be “coherent in itself”. “We have to be careful and not risk a relapse.”

The SPD also remains cautious. “The seriousness of the situation has come to everyone, but we still need patience,” said Secretary-General Klingbeil. A debate about easing anti-corona measures at the moment is “completely wrong,” he told the “Passauer Neue Presse” (Tuesday).

The corona crisis also raises many ethical questions, and the German Ethics Council wants to speak up today. In the corona crisis, among other things, a prioritization of patients (“triage”) is discussed when increasing numbers of seriously ill corona patients are expected. The board of the German Foundation for Patient Protection, Eugen Brysch, complained that no one spoke about it in geriatric care. “Elderly care workers, who are overworked a thousand times over, are forced to set priorities,” said Brysch of the German Press Agency. They decided who should go to the toilet first or how long the diaper should be worn. You would have to determine when food would be served and how much time residents would have for it.


The municipalities are financially difficult to cope with the restrictions in everyday life because income breaks down, especially with trade tax, or cultural and leisure facilities remain tight. “After the important help for business, trade and the self-employed, the municipalities now also need financial support,” demanded Burkhard Jung, President of the German Association of Cities, in an interview with the German Press Agency. A rescue umbrella is needed for the municipalities.


However, the many aid programs for the economy do not overwhelm the federal budget. Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said late evening on ZDF that it was a good thing that the federal government had been sound in the past few years. After the last financial crisis, the federal government had a government debt ratio of 80 percent, emphasized Scholz. The debt level has been laboriously reduced to below 60 percent of the gross domestic product. Any measures now underway would lead to a debt ratio of around 75 percent. “In this respect, we have made good provision for an equally difficult situation,” said the Vice-Chancellor.

The head of the taxpayers’ association, Reiner Holznagel, admitted that the financial foundation was solid. He also emphasized in the “Neue Osnabrucker Newspaper” (Tuesday): “The consequences of the corona crisis will put a heavy strain on public coffers in Germany for decades.” Nevertheless, mind games about tax increases are banned.

SPD parliamentary group leader Achim Post even wants to lower taxes, for citizens with small and medium incomes when the corona crisis is over. This is how the economy is to be boosted, said the Post of the German Press Agency. The lower taxes should be associated with “strong investments in climate protection, growth, employment and also European cohesion”, he emphasized. He rejects relief for high earners.


It is unclear when regular school classes in Germany can start again. “If it is no longer possible to open the schools, grades can also be given based on the previous performance plus a” Corona Bonus “,” said the chairwoman of the Education and Science Union (GEW), Marlis Tepe, the editorial network Germany (RND /Tuesday). “If in doubt, the evaluation should be in the student’s favor,” said Tepe.

The President of the German Teachers’ Association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, said that one could start school again with final and upper grades. Without an end to the lockdown, “we don’t have to worry about opening schools after the Easter holidays,” Meidinger told the Rhein-Neckar-Newspaper. He added: “If, like in Lower Saxony, the summer vacation starts in the second half of June, it makes sense to think about transfers and certificates now.”


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