Fighting the pandemic: new corona rules: with masks in the fall

fight against the pandemic
New Corona rules: With masks in the fall

A sign draws attention to the obligation to wear masks: "Access only with mouth and nose protection!".  Photo: Waltraud Grubitzsch/dpa

A sign draws attention to the mask requirement: "Access only with mouth and nose protection!". photo

© Waltraud Grubitzsch/dpa

The end of summer is approaching - and with the decline in corona cases it seems to be over for the time being. In this situation, the Federal Council clears the way for new requirements.

To contain the corona pandemic From October 1st, new mask and test requirements will apply to people in Germany.

The Federal Council passed the new rules for autumn and winter by a majority. Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) defended the guidelines again against some heavy criticism. The law gives the federal states the power to decide on a large part of the conditions themselves.

The law is based on a proposal by Lauterbach and the Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) and had already been decided in the Bundestag last week. Now the country is "well prepared," said Lauterbach.

No Mask requirement in airplanes

FFP2 will be mandatory nationwidemasks in clinics, nursing homes and medical practices. Masks are still compulsory on long-distance trains, although a simple surgical mask is sufficient for children between the ages of 6 and 13. Masks are no longer compulsory on airplanes. In nursing homes and clinics, a negative test must also be presented before entry.

It is possible to make masks compulsory on local trains and buses as well as indoors such as shops, restaurants and event rooms. The federal states can prescribe masks there from October 1, but do not have to. Anyone who shows a negative test must be exempted from such an obligation in the catering trade and at events. Tests should be mandatory in schools and daycare centers. From class five, a mask requirement is possible.

Countries can make further specifications

If the infection situation worsens, the federal states can make further requirements with a state parliament resolution: Masks are also compulsory at outdoor events if distances of 1.50 meters are not possible; Visitor limits for indoor events; Hygiene concepts for companies and other facilities.

A new nationwide vaccination campaign is planned. The aim is to provide information about the vaccines that have been adapted to new virus variants. In addition, drugs should be used more intensively for people with Covid-19. There should also be better, up-to-date data on hospital occupancy. Homes must appoint officers who take care of vaccinations, hygiene and therapies for those who are sick, for example with the drug Paxlovid.

Lauterbach: "Contagious variants, not so severe courses"

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the corona situation is again characterized by high incidences due to the widespread distribution of the omicron subline BA.5 - the decline has stopped. The nationwide seven-day incidence remained relatively stable compared to the week before last - it had previously decreased for seven weeks. According to the data, even with severe Covid 19 diseases, the downward trend did not continue, according to the most recent RKI weekly report.

Lauterbach said he did not want to get used to the around 100 corona deaths that are currently taking place every day. According to him, the minister considers it likely that Germany will have to deal with "contagious variants that are not quite as difficult" in the autumn. He expects the middle of three possible scenarios that the official Corona Expert Council drafted in the summer to occur.

Thuringia's Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) explained why his country did not agree to the law. Among other things, he rejected indicators for further corona requirements in the countries as “unmanageable”. Wastewater monitoring and other criteria such as incidence should be used to assess whether a country's hospital and other infrastructure is at risk. Lauterbach rejected the criticism: As a rule, when the corona situation was aggravated, all the criteria in question pointed in the same direction - so they would give a good overall picture.

The Schleswig-Holstein Minister of Education Karin Prien (CDU) welcomed the fact that a negative self-test should be enough for schoolchildren who suspect corona to be allowed to go to school. She criticized that the need for a certificate had previously been provided for. Now, however, it is still unclear who should pay for the self-tests that are still necessary, Prien criticized.


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