Merkel on the fight against the pandemic: “I will not stand idly by”

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Status: 03/29/2021 11:00 a.m.

In order to fight Corona, there is no need for ongoing consultations with the countries, but consistent action, says Chancellor Merkel. She threatens to tighten the Infection Protection Act – supported by the CSU boss.

In view of the third wave of corona, Chancellor Angela Merkel has clearly rejected all planned easing and model projects in Germany. She sees the federal states’ duty to implement the joint resolutions effectively and quickly. “We have to break the third wave,” said the Chancellor on the ARD broadcast Anne Will.

Some countries are apparently unaware of the seriousness of the situation. Apparently there were still some illusions about the pandemic and the danger of the virus variants.

The Chancellor also indicated that the federal government could act if the states should not take the necessary measures. “We now have to take the appropriate measures with great seriousness,” said Merkel. “And some federal states are doing that, others are not doing it yet.” But if this does not happen in the very foreseeable future, the Chancellor said, she would have to think about how this could be regulated nationwide. “This is my oath of office, this is my obligation,” said Merkel. “I will not stand idly by another two weeks.”

Merkel repeats: It is serious

The Chancellor is an advocate of strict corona rules, especially in view of the rapidly increasing number of infections. However, it is dependent on the prime ministers of the federal states, who decide on the implementation of corona measures in their federal states.

With a view to the Saarland, in which area-wide openings are planned after Easter, Merkel pointed out that the infection numbers are not stable there either. “That is why this is not the time to consider something like this now,” said Merkel. With a seven-day incidence of more than 100, according to the joint decisions, there is no margin of appreciation.

She would repeat the sentence she addressed to citizens a year ago: “It is serious, please take it seriously”.

Chancellor Merkel criticizes the corona course of the states

Anja Köhler, ARD Berlin, Morgenmagazin, March 29, 2021

Possible tightening of the Infection Protection Act

One possibility is “to tackle the Infection Protection Act again and say very specifically what has to happen in which case,” said Merkel. They won’t watch until there are 100,000 new infections a day. The Chancellor said she was still thinking about it and had not yet made a final decision. In addition, majorities in the Bundestag and Bundesrat are required for all decisions.

Merkel demanded that the federal and state governments must act together. “We can’t decide anything without each other,” she said. But: “We are obliged by law to contain the infection process. And at the moment the containment is not there.”

Söder for more federal competencies

The Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder supported the Federal Chancellor’s request to the federal states to consistently implement the corona measures. The CSU politician pleaded in the daily topics also for strict restrictions. Particularly over the Easter holidays, the restriction of private contacts is “a central and important instrument,” said Söder. Germany also needs less of a “patchwork quilt than a decisive decision”. He was therefore “in favor of more consistent and very clear measures instead of constant back and forth,” said Söder.

So far, many countries have refused to act consistently, said Söder. No early federal-state round will help either. “There’s no point in sitting together again at a new conference and again just lamenting, exchanging ideas, and in the end everyone just doing what they think is right,” said Söder. Instead, a “unified spirit” is needed.

He has always said: “I could have imagined that the federal government would have more powers over the Infection Protection Act, which also forces the federal states to have clear rules. I am very open to it,” said Söder. “If the Chancellor took the initiative, an initiative at national level, to change the law and to make clear guidelines, she would have my support.”

Clear measures instead of constant consultation

Merkel, too, did not consider an early meeting with the country leaders to be necessary at the moment. She described last Monday’s meeting as a turning point. “We do not need a prime ministerial conference, we need action in the countries,” said the Chancellor.

Rather, direct measures are needed against the pandemic, such as exit and contact restrictions, more work in the home office and a comprehensive test strategy. In regions with particularly high numbers of infections, exit restrictions are conceivable; these could be a very effective means, said Merkel. This is especially true in the evening hours.

Merkel criticizes openings in the countries

The fact that federal exceptions are being made despite the nationwide increase in the number of infections met with criticism from Merkel and Söder. “I really don’t know now whether testing and strolling, as it is now called in Berlin, is the right answer to what is currently going on,” said Merkel. The Governing Mayor Michael Müller last said: “I believe that it is not a viable option to turn back everything that we have fought for in the last few days and weeks in terms of opportunities and freedoms.”

In Saarland, too, Prime Minister Tobias Hans wants to open his state in a model project after Easter. And that although – as Merkel explained – the infection numbers are not stable there. “That is why this is not the time to look at something like this now,” said the Chancellor. This was a “very daring announcement” from Hans, about which she was “not so happy”.

The agreed gradual opening steps were a compromise. “A compromise with good faith that the emergency brake will actually be implemented. If it does not work now, it is, so to speak, a violation of the decisions we have made.”

Söder criticized the fact that in some federal states many of the measures that have already been decided are not being implemented. Many did not apply the emergency brake that had been decided or would find it difficult to implement. He doesn’t have a good feeling about it.

Stricter measures – but not too strict

The chairman of the left parliamentary group, Dietmar Bartsch, said in the ARD morning magazine: “I think that we have seen in the last few days that things are chaotic. The prime ministers agree something and then everyone does his thing.” Bartsch demanded that the proposed measures be applied consistently but with caution. Curfews are a tough tool to be used in an extreme emergency. “I am against the fact that curfews are imposed across Germany. I also cannot imagine that the Chancellor wants that.”

From the point of view of the Greens parliamentary group leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt, however, stricter corona measures are inevitable. “The fact that no action was taken for weeks despite all the warnings set us back miles in the fight against the virus and caused a massive loss of confidence,” said Göring-Eckardt to the newspapers of the Funke media group. “It was foreseeable that stricter measures are now inevitable and is the inevitable consequence of the inconsistent back and forth. It cannot and must not go on like this.”

“The failure in vaccination is now having an impact,” Dietmar Bartsch, Die Linke, on corona management in Germany

Morning magazine, March 29, 2021





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Merkel fight pandemic stand idly

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