After his first ‘Corona conference’ with the First Ministers from Germany’s federal states, Olaf Scholz said his government did not rule out a tightening of the Corona restrictions before Christmas. For now, the experts are supposed to determine whether the existing rules have the intended effect.
Berlin, December 10th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — As Finance Minister, Vice Chancellor and as designated Chancellor, Olaf Scholz has been part of many ‘Corona conferences’ Angela Merkel held with the heads of government from Germany’s sixteen states. On Thursday, he headed the first online meeting of this kind as Chancellor. No decisions were taken this time, but the situation was discussed. Afterwards, he faced the press in Berlin with Hendrik Wüst, the new First Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller.
Options on the Table
“The question how we should approach the challenges posed by the Corona pandemic was the focus of the deliberations”, Scholz stated. He made clear a tightening of the Corona restrictions, even before Christmas, was an option. Next week, the new council of experts would convene for the first time to assess the situation. The government’s approach depended on the outcome. If necessary, his government wanted to “act quickly and resolutely”, Scholz vowed.
Hendrik Wüst said new information about the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus was expected next week. If necessary, there would be a reaction. This was the approach Scholz and the ‘Minister Presidents’, as the Germans call their First Ministers or Governors, had decided to take.
Longer Vaccination Campaign
According to Chancellor Scholz, the vaccination campaign is the most important part in the fight against Corona. The ongoing immunization campaign would likely take longer than many people expected, he said. It would be useful if the infrastructure for vaccinations was not pared back too quickly. He was referring to the fact that many states shut down their vaccination centers after the third Corona wave. These centers are needed now, in the fourth wave.
Olaf Scholz condemned recent incidents in Saxony, in which Corona deniers and other conspiracy theorists threatened politicians by staging protests in front of their houses. At the same time, he said Germany was not divided between vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens. There was a small and loud minority of people who could not be convinced. But Scholz stated he also wanted to be the Chancellor of those who had not had the opportunity to get immunized yet, and those who still had doubts.
Seven Day Incidence Decreases
Both Scholz’ council of experts and his crisis management team are supposed to convene next week, for the first time. While the council is supposed to suggest steps to take against Corona, the team will make sure there is enough vaccine and the immunization campaign runs smoothly. The government wants to have 30 million Corona vaccinations administered until Christmas, including first shots, second shots and booster shots.
Germany’s Seven Day Incidence decreased again. it stood at 413.7 on Friday morning. There are 61,288 new Corona infections. The number of Corona patients in intensive care increased to 4,943. Twenty-six counties and cities in Germany have four-digit Incidences. One of them, Meissen in Saxony, stands at 2,517.4. Hildburghausen in Thuringia is above 2,000 as well.
Lauterbach at Parliament
On Friday morning at the Berlin Bundestag, Germany’s new Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said the government intended to slow down the Delta wave and prevent an Omicron wave from spreading. It was fighting for making safe travels possible during the Christmas holidays. Nobody wanted to close all restaurants, Lauterbach said, but the infection numbers were so high that keeping unvaccinated persons out was the only alternative. “That is where we stand”, he stated. But the Minister also said he knew Germany would succeed.
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