A lot was prepared for a possibly more critical Corona winter. But the specially filled box with state protection instruments is already being emptied before spring comes. Next up this Thursday (February 2nd) is the nationwide mask requirement on long-distance trains, and other crisis rules are also crumbling in many places.
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) is convinced that certain requirements, especially for the safety of vulnerable groups, should remain in place - even if the co-governing FDP and some industry representatives are shaking up the remaining requirements. Patient representatives urge further important consideration.
VdK President: "Our consideration is clear for the mask requirement"
The President of the social association VdK, Verena Bentele, told the German Press Agency that people with previous illnesses, disabilities or old age are concentrated in the health and care facilities and are particularly at risk. Masks should therefore continue to be worn there. "Some employees or residents may find this a burden, but our consideration is clearly in favor of a mask requirement."
In trains one should consider "tailor-made solutions". "For example, separate areas that are reserved for people who want a mask would be conceivable," said Bentele. "In the ICE there are already comparable divisions with rest areas or mobile phone areas." Then everyone can decide for themselves whether to wear a mask and go to the designated area.
The fact that there are now earlier easing is due to the more relaxed situation. There was no threatening winter wave, and experts don't see any on the horizon for the time being. Lauterbach pointed out that the decline in the reported number of cases "did not come by itself". The containment measures would have worked. The cabinet has therefore now passed a "Protective Measures Suspension Ordinance" that seals the early end of the mask requirement on long-distance trains. The possibility to do so was built into the Infection Protection Act, while the general expiry date of the Corona regulations is Good Friday, April 7th.
Corona instrument box is being rearranged and cleared out
Masks: The obligation to wear masks on airplanes has been passé since autumn. Now also nationwide in ICE and Intercity as well as in buses and trains of local transport, for which the states regulate it. Some had advanced a few weeks. Masks are still required by law in clinics, medical practices and nursing homes. Tests: A reduced offer of free citizen tests is still available up to and including February 28th. Rapid tests from test sites remain free even without symptoms, including before visits to clinics and nursing homes. For "free testing" after an infection, the entitlement ceased in mid-January. However, it continues to exist for medical staff who have to be tested before they can return to work. Protection rules: Plexiglas panes are still attached to the cash registers in many supermarkets. However, a regulation with nationwide requirements for infection protection in companies will be lifted at the same time as the mask requirement on the ICE. More and more countries are enacting recommended isolation requirements for infected people, although Lauterbach is promoting it for workplace safety. In any case, the stricter everyday requirements laid down in the law remain unused. Vaccinations: Vaccination should actually pick up speed again over the winter - above all to refresh basic immunizations from a long time ago with advanced preparations that are adapted to current virus variants. But the vaccination campaign, which is now running in the practices, continues to languish for the time being. The federal government is already trying to cancel or reduce foreseeable excess deliveries for Germany.Entry: For those returning from vacation, the relaxed corona rules continue to apply without special proof when entering Germany - at least as long as no new, more dangerous virus variant is circulating. However, countries in which such a variant "threatens to occur" have now been added as a new category. Travelers from China must therefore first present a negative corona test before departing for Germany. Warning app: The federal corona app has been downloaded more than 48 million times since 2020 - it is unclear on how many smartphones it is active. The warning function now also works with self-made quick tests without further official confirmation.