Mask requirement: does it fall on local public transport? – Politics


Listen to science – the slogan, which is otherwise more likely to be heard from the climate movement Fridays for Future, also has Schleswig-Holstein’s Prime Minister Daniel Gunther (CDU) heeded. At the beginning of November, he invited 20 experts to the Kiel state parliament. Before the onset of winter, they should present their view of the current corona protection measures. Some appeared in person for the hearing, others could be connected via video, their message was clear: the experts are calling for the current requirements to be reduced.

The corona situation has changed fundamentally and is no longer comparable to 2020 and 2021. There is no longer any reason to “specialize” a Covid 19 infection, said Klaus Rabe, medical director at the Großhansdorf lung clinic. The head of the Institute for Infection Medicine at the University of Kiel, Helmut Fickenscher, referred to the high rate of vaccinated and recovered. The fatality rate is only 0.05 percent, and that “does not include those who die not of Corona but with it”. That’s why he rejects them too Mask requirement on the bus and train.

Günther now wants to implement the advice from science. He is aiming to phase out the mask requirement in local public transport by the end of the year, nationwide, he said last Friday. Whether he will be successful is questionable. He probably has a loud advocate in Markus Söder. The Bavarian Prime Minister, who for a long time could not be too careful with the Corona policy, spoke out against the obligation to wear masks on trains a few days ago. It is “hard to understand why there is a mask requirement on the train but not on the plane,” he argued. At the federal level, Günther received encouragement from the FDP. Andrew Ullmann, the health policy spokesman for the Liberals in the Bundestag, advocates replacing the obligation to wear a mask with a recommendation.

Lauterbach considers an end to the mask requirement in local transport to be “not communicable”

However, the head of the state of Schleswig-Holstein felt opposition from the immediate vicinity: Hamburg and Lower Saxony rejected his proposal. The Bremen Ministry of Health states that the obligation to wear masks on buses and trains is “a low-threshold offer that has been practiced for a long time and provides good protection”. Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) said on Monday that an increase in the number of cases is to be expected in winter and that a suspension of the mask requirement in local transport is therefore “not communicable”. People should be able to get to work safely.

The statement is hardly surprising, since Lauterbach has been calling for the mask requirement to be reintroduced indoors for weeks. So it would be hard to convey if he refused them on buses and trains. The mask requirement is also one of the few remaining instruments that politicians still have at their disposal in the fight against the pandemic. Of course, Lauterbach does not give it away too quickly.

However, he also knows that previously accepted corona requirements are shaky. Four federal states, including Schleswig-Holstein, recently announced that they would lift the obligation to isolate people infected with the corona virus. In nursing homes, there is a mask requirement for residents, but the federal states handle this protection against infection rather loosely. The facility-related compulsory vaccination is also up for discussion. Many regulations are a matter for the federal states, so Schleswig-Holstein could also abolish the obligation to wear masks on buses and trains on its own. Prime Minister Günther does not want to know anything about this for the time being. He hopes, he said, that the talks with the other federal states on the matter will “hopefully be successful”.



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