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Germany: Angela Merkel to Discuss Corona Approach with First Ministers

On Tuesday, Chancellor Merkel was going to discuss ways to keep the Corona infections as low as possible in fall and winter with her colleagues from the capitals of Germany’s federal states. Her possible successor Armin Laschet came up with a five-point plan ahead of the Corona conference.

Munich, August 10th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — The participants of today’s Corona conference in Berlin have two main goals. Angela Merkel, the departing Chancellor, Armin Laschet, the First Minister or North Rhine-Westphalia, who might succeed her soon, and his 15 colleagues, want to try to keep the Corona infection numbers down in order to make sure another big lockdown can be avoided. And they intend to make more Germans get vaccinated as quickly as possible.

‘Each Vaccination Counts’

Of course, a candidate for Chancellor like Armin Laschet needs to try to remain in the headlines and show he has useful ideas. That is why he is suggesting the implementation of a five-point plan. It includes a “big, united appeal to get vaccinated” and incentives which have the potential to make people decide to get immunized. The Health Ministry already started an advertising campaign. At service stations on the German Autobahn, poster ads paid for by the government were seen. “Each vaccination counts”, they say.

Individuals who have not decided to get vaccinated are also supposed to be put under pressure. Some First Ministers believe they should be excluded from public life until they get their anti-Corona shots. Laschet said vaccinated persons should not run into disadvantages only because others were too comfortable to get immunized against COVID-19. On the other hand, some of his colleagues feel it would be unfair to exclude unvaccinated people from anything as long as they have negative Corona tests.

Incidence and Number of Patients

The second entry in Armin Laschet’s five-point plan is an extension to the mandatory tests for all persons who gather indoors with people they do not know. Thirdly, he wants to make people pay for the Corona tests they need in order to enter places. Pregnant women and other individuals who cannot be vaccinated are supposed to get their tests for free in the future as well. Generally, charging persons for tests is supposed to pressure them into getting vaccinated. So far, 54.8 percent of all Germans are immunized, but 85 percent are necessary for the herd immunity experts are hoping for.

Laschet’s fourth demand is an end to mandatory Corona tests for vaccinated persons. This seems to be about teachers and people of other professions who need tests in order to do their job. The fifth point in his plan is a new way of assessing the Corona situation. Up to now, Germany has relied on the Seven Day Incidence level. In future, Armin Laschet wants to include other factors as well, such as the number of Corona patients who are being treated at hospitals, the number of ICU patients and the progress reached in the vaccination campaign. This demand had already been voiced by several other high-ranking politicians before Armin Laschet included it in his five-point plan, meaning he did not develop the idea on his own.

Infection Numbers on the Rise

In the meantime, the Corona infection numbers keep on rising. Germany’s Incidence has reached 23.5. Hamburg, the nation’s new Corona hotspots, stands at 59.4, Berlin at 40.7.

All relevant Corona numbers for Germany, and daily Corona updates, can be found in our Corona chronology.

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