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Germany: Federal States Argue About Mandatory Mask Rule in Public Transport

Update December 6th, 3:33 p.m. CET:
Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt cancel mandatory mask rule in public transport.

Four German states have already dumped the compulsory isolation regulation for persons infected with Corona, even though there are tens of thousands new cases every day. The governments in the state capitals are also arguing about masks. It is not the first time.

Berlin, December 6th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — Recently, the southern states Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, Hesse in the west and Schleswig-Holstein in Germany’s north-western part got rid of the isolation rule. This means that individuals infected with the dangerous Coronavirus may move around, and even go to work as long as they wear masks. But neither Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach nor most other federal states agree with this approach.

Mutual Regulations

The Health Ministers of the sixteen states want mutual regulations that apply in all of Germany, but they failed to reach an agreement once again. Throughout the Corona pandemic, this has happened several times. When Angela Merkel was Chancellor, she even pushed a new law through the Bundestag when some First Ministers acted against regulations they themselves had agreed to shortly before. They were about to ease Corona restrictions prematurely.

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Today, the state governments are still divided. There are the more careful ones and those who are ready to get rid of virtually all Corona rules. Bavaria’s conservative First Minister Markus Söder used to be among those who pleaded for strict Corona regulations. Today, he is taking the opposite approach. The same applies to Baden-Württemberg’s center-left Governor Winfried Kretschmann who is a member of the Greens.

Weird Contradiction

Those arguments concern the quarantine rules, but also the masks. There are states that want to turn the compulsory mask rule in public transport into a recommendation, which means they want to dump it. Others want to extend the rule until the end of the year. And there are states that would rather wait until the winter is over. The latter has not even started.

While protective masks in buses, trams and trains (including long-distance trains) are mandatory, passengers on aircraft are not required to wear them. To many Germans, this is a rather weird contradiction, and a dangerous one too. Others argue the Omicron virus was not as dangerous as Corona mutations that had spread earlier. Therefore, the rule for flight passengers was justified.

Corona and RSV

Because of the spread of the RS Virus and the alarming situation at children’s hospitals, some politicians have called on people to wear masks in solidarity with the kids who are affected right now. Pediatrician’s offices all over Germany are overburdened as well because of the ongoing RSV wave. Indirectly, it seems to be connected to Corona. Because of the recent kindergarten closures, many kids did not have the opportunity to develop the antibodies they need to fight off the RSV quickly.

Looking for the daily Corona update for Germany? Find it here.
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2022
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2021
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2020

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