Before his political career he worked as an intensive care physician, now Chancellery Minister Helge Braun (CDU) has to deal with the biggest health crisis in the history of the Federal Republic.
In the BILD am Sonntag conversation, he warns of corona mutations, against which the vaccine does not help, and urges citizens to be careful. Because of the mishaps in the Corona policy, he is under massive pressure.
BILD am Sonntag: Minister, you were the inventor of the Easter rest. Have you already apologized to the Chancellor for this total bankruptcy?
Helge Braun: “I also had my share in the decisions, so I apologize to the citizens who have been upset by this. It is now imperative that we bring the corona infections down again, even without Easter rest. We are in the most dangerous phase of the pandemic. ”
We have heard that from you a couple of times.
Braun: “Unfortunately, all warnings always came. The third wave has the potential to get worse than the second because it is triggered by a more contagious mutation. The next few weeks will decide whether we can get the pandemic under control in the foreseeable future. If the number of infections rises rapidly at the same time as the vaccination, the risk increases that the next virus mutation will become immune to the vaccine. ”
What are the consequences?
Braun: “Then we would be back with empty hands. Then we would need new vaccines, then we would have to start vaccinating all over again. We must prevent that at all costs. We must not jeopardize the chance of a largely normal summer by loosening up a few weeks too early. ”
Do you want to prepare the people here for a lockdown that will last months?
Braun: “It won’t take that long. I expect that the relieving effect of the vaccination and the start of the warm season in May will be noticeable. At Pentecost we will see the first positive effects – provided that the situation does not get out of hand by then. ”
How are you going to ensure that?
Braun: “So that the infection does not get out of control, in regions with incidences over 100 not only relaxations have to be withdrawn, but additional measures have to be taken. Regional curfews in the evening and at night can help because we have the highest infection rates at private meetings. ”
And that of all days at Easter. Do you have no understanding at all that people long for more freedom?
Braun: “Everyone’s need to finally have more freedom again, I can understand that very well. I can feel that too. I have rarely had such wanderlust. But we cannot wish the virus away. It is bitter that the mutation is making spring so much more difficult for us now. “
They call on all citizens to refrain from traveling at Easter and warn of the mutant melting pot Mallorca. Will there be a travel ban?
Braun: “This is a major encroachment on civil liberties. But from this Sunday there will be a general test obligation for all flights to Germany. On a plane back to Germany, each passenger only comes with a negative test. ”
On the other hand, you are tough when you are on holiday in Germany. Why is it not allowed to relax a bit in a holiday apartment in your own federal state?
Braun: “Such an opening step is prohibited at a time when the number of infections is growing by 30 percent every week. If we don’t stop this development, we will have incidences of over 200 after Easter. Then the hospitals will reach their limits because the virus mutation brings many more younger people to the intensive care unit who have to be treated there for longer.
When do you think vacation trips are responsible again?
Braun: “I think it’s realistic that travel will be possible again in August. With the current developments, Easter vacation is simply not responsible. ”
How do you celebrate Easter yourself?
Braun: “I will spend Easter at home in Giessen. I bought self-tests online at a discount store so that I can then meet the family under the protection of the test. ”
Despite all promises made by the government, self-tests are in short supply. When is there enough of it for every student to be tested twice a week?
Braun: “Thanks to our joint ordering efforts, we have managed to ensure that the countries have sufficient self-tests for March and April. It is getting better every day now that the tests really get through to the schools. In my opinion, functioning test systems are a prerequisite for schools to remain open after the Easter break. ”
Companies should also test their employees for free. So far, only 19 percent of companies have done this. Why are you so indulgent?
Braun: “There is a voluntary commitment by companies that every employee who is not in the home office is tested twice a week. The structure should be in place by the beginning of April. We will then make our own survey of how many companies are participating. ”
How many have to participate so that there is no compulsory test?
Braun: “We haven’t set a quota. It is clear that if it is not two thirds to three quarters of the companies, it is not enough. ”
How often do you test yourself?
Braun: “Twice a week. We offer that here in the Chancellery. Once we have established a functioning test regime across the board, we can soon start relaxing steps. ”
Saarland’s Prime Minister Tobias Hans (43, CDU) wants to lift the lockdown immediately after Easter. Has he gone crazy in your eyes?
Braun: “With a low incidence and a sophisticated test regimen, relaxations such as opening outdoor restaurants, cinemas, museums, sporting and cultural events are possible. Saarland is at the forefront when it comes to testing, thus keeping the infection rate under control. That works there. ”
In other parts of the country, too, many people do not want to accept the severe restrictions. Can the federal government ignore that?
Braun: “We have to agree in society what we want to achieve. All societies that have kept their infection numbers low have gotten better through the pandemic in terms of health, economy and society. ”
The Swedes see it differently!
Braun: “Sweden is getting through the crisis neither healthily nor economically better than its stricter neighboring countries.”
Braun: “I doubt that too. For Germany, I cannot imagine that people will happily visit hotels and restaurants in the next few weeks while our intensive care units are overcrowded. But I also say: Yes, we need the clear prospect of returning to normal life. ”
Braun: “We are facing a third big wave. It would be wrong if we were to loosen up everywhere now and take extreme risks instead of being careful for another eight weeks. Then we will have so much vaccine that we can gradually get out of the pandemic without overwhelming our healthcare system and accepting many more deaths. The majority of the citizens do not think that we should take the path of a high third wave instead. ”
The Union crashes in the polls. Is the Chancellery’s corona management to blame?
Braun: “Citizens expect the government to solve crises. The longer the crisis lasts, the greater the dissatisfaction. I ask the citizens for a little perseverance. All those who have managed not to get infected with Corona for a year should not abandon all caution now, maybe two months before they get a chance to vaccinate.
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Interview Minister Helge Braun Chancellery warns super mutants domestic politics