After the agreement of the federal and state governments on an extension of the partial lockdown to contain the corona pandemic the Senate will hold a special session on Thursday. The meeting is about them Implementation of the resolutions at the state level. The governing mayor Michael Müller (SPD) announced that the senators want to take time for an extensive discussion.
Because of particularly high corona infection numbers in Berlin the partial lockdown in the capital could take longer than the federal and state governments agreed on Wednesday. “Until January”, said Müller to the “Tagesspiegel” when asked whether Berlin will go beyond December 20 Restrictions for pubs and restaurants, culture and leisure areas, for example want to hold on. “We have the special situation here with the high incidence figures,” he added.
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According to information from the German Press Agency, the red-red-green Senate wants to discuss this option at its special session. It remains to be seen whether the extension of the extension of the partial lockdown will actually be decided in the end.
Berlin starts with a hotspot value
The country chiefs and Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) agreed on Wednesday evening after hours of deliberations to extend the partial lockdown that has been in effect since November 2nd until at least December 20th. In addition, should from December 1st, tightened contact restrictions for private meetings apply, with easing planned over Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
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The federal and state governments also agreed on one Hotspot value: From a number of 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week, the corona rules should be tightened again. About 60 districts would be affected Berlin, where this value was 218.4 on Wednesday. For comparison: the critical threshold value for this incidence, which the federal and state governments want to fall below with the help of the restrictions, is 50.
After the resolutions, Müller asked for understanding for the measures. “We are in a situation where it really is a matter of life and death in many areas,” he said in the evening. Much has been achieved with the measures taken so far, but not enough.
Müller referred to high burdens in the healthcare system and the dire consequences of infection for many people affected. “We are now in Berlin in a situation where we a quarter of the intensive care beds are used for Covid-19 patients“, he said. Many of them would have to be ventilated. In addition, there are days in Berlin with 20 to 30 deceased. “Behind every single number are human fates and human tragedies.”
Reason and personal responsibility are required on the holidays
With a view to the easing over the holidays, Müller appealed to common sense and personal responsibility. Politicians want “of course, given this special season of the year, to make some things possible that might not be necessary if you look at the figures very coolly,” said the current chairman of the Conference of Prime Ministers (MPK). “But making things possible doesn’t mean that everything has to be used that is possible.”
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Each individual must be aware of what they can do to protect themselves and others, said Müller. “And family celebrations, (…) even if they are possible, you may not have to organize them as large and in the same form as you have done in recent years.”
What is Berlin doing with schools?
Specifically, the federal and state governments agreed, in addition to extending the partial lockdown, that private get-togethers with friends, relatives and acquaintances would stop because of the infection situation five people in your own household and one other household should be restricted, excluding children up to 14. Over the holidays from December 23rd to January 1st, meetings “with the closest family or friends” with a total of up to ten people should be possible. There are also children up to 14 years of age.
New Year’s Eve fireworks in busy squares and streets are prohibited, however, there should be no general ban on firecrackers. In Berlin there was already a firecracker ban in several places last New Year’s Eve. According to Müller, the Senate will examine whether these zones are expanded in order to avoid the formation of larger groups.
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The question of what needs to be done so that daycare centers and schools can remain open remains controversial across the country. In regions with significantly more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days, according to the federal-state resolution From year seven onwards, mask requirements also apply in class, which is already a practice in Berlins. It should be possible to introduce such an obligation for elementary school, fifth and sixth graders – Whether it comes for Berlin schools is just as open as the question of whether more Alternating lessons for small study groups is introduced with school and home learning.