Lauterbach wants new rules for the crown from autumn

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FROM: Jens Kiffmeier

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Corona autumn 2022 is getting closer: Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) therefore insists on the requirement to use masks from October. Which principle applies exactly?

Berlin – it’s just a short breath: Corona’s summer wave is flattening. However, falling numbers are not a reason for Karl Lauterbach (SPD) to answer everything. Encouraged by the Omikron BA.5 variant, the number of infections will increase sharply again in the fall, warned the Minister of Health at a press conference in Berlin on Friday (August 12) and insisted on new rules for the crown in Germany. From October, the requirement to use the mask indoors for fall and winter should apply again. “I assume all countries will,” said Lauterbach. But what then?

Mask obligation in Germany: Lauterbach presents new rules for the crown in the fall

Politicians have already initiated an amendment to the law on protection against infections. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) and Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) agreed on a detailed draft last week. The central element is the possibility of re-introducing the compulsory wearing of indoor masks in two different stages from October. Both ministers recently said the country would be protected from a new wave of corona infections with “winter tires” and “snow chains”.

He wants a mask in Germany: Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD). © Kay Nietfeld / dpa

New Corona Rules: From October, the mask requirement will apply again – despite the exhaustion of the Germans

The federal government has already faced great criticism in some sections of society with the announcement of the new rules for the crown. But experts signal the approval of the traffic light plan. Leif Erik Sander, head of the research group on infection immunology at Berlin’s Charité and member of the Federal Government’s Board of Experts, showed understanding for a certain “fatigue” among Germans. But despite falling numbers, he warned against being too compassionate.

“We need to focus on winter now,” he warned at a joint performance with Lauterbach. Because there is now another scenario with increasing cases, clinic staff shortages, and higher mortality rates. Therefore, some crown rules cannot be avoided, including the obligation to wear a mask indoors in Germany. But what exactly is planned now?

Indoor mask requirement: The Lauterbach plan provides for new rules for coronation in two steps

Under the new Infection Protection Act, the mask requirement should apply nationwide on airplanes, buses, and trains, as well as when entering hospitals and clinics, where an examination requirement should also apply. In addition, as of October 1, the Länder should be able to make the use of masks in closed rooms again mandatory in Germany. To this end, two stages are planned.

Depending on the number of cases, exceptions may be allowed in the first stage, e.g. for gastronomy. For example, in restaurants, people who have just passed the tests, who recovered from a corona infection no more than 90 days ago, or have been fully vaccinated, may be able to access without a mask. In this case, the last vaccination could not have been earlier than three months ago. The Corona-Warn-App is to be adapted for easy control.

If the crown numbers increase, exceptions should be allowed for removal in a second step. According to Lauterbach, this would be the case if the healthcare system in Germany were to be put at risk. Then it should be possible to reintroduce masks at outdoor events. Here is an overview of the Corona rules in Germany:

Mask requirement in Germany: bus, train, plane, school and indoors – what will apply from October?

  • In these areas, masks are compulsory throughout the country:
  • planes and long-distance trains
  • Public transport bus and train
  • at the entrance to hospitals and care facilities (including mandatory examinations)
  • for outpatient care workers (including obligatory tests)
  • In the Länder, the mask requirement can also be introduced in the following areas:
  • in public buildings or restaurants, etc., but with possible exceptions for people who have just been tested, recovered from a corona infection no more than 90 days ago, or have been fully vaccinated. In this case, the last vaccination could not have been earlier than three months ago.
  • in schools and other training institutions for staff and pupils, but only from the fifth grade and if regular classroom activities would not otherwise be possible
  • at outdoor events, if the health system is compromised and the minimum distances cannot be kept
  • at events in closed public spaces, if the operation of the healthcare system is under threat. Then there should no longer be any exceptions for those who are recovered, newly vaccinated, or tested

Infection Protection Act: Länder still discuss the obligation to wear masks with Health Minister Karl Lauterbach

However, the anti-infection law still has to overcome several parliamentary hurdles. According to the information, the federal cabinet is to move to the federal cabinet on August 24 and will be discussed in the Bundestag in early September. But before that, the Länder want to have a say. Lower Saxony has already signaled approval of the concept. However, some government offices still had some concerns about specific points. There should therefore be another federal round in the coming week.

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Lauterbach was ready to talk. “One thing is clear: nothing is settled yet,” he said at a press conference in Berlin. But I strongly recommend Corona’s new rules. Because despite all the joy of the “strong decline” in the number of crowns – in the fall the dynamics of the number of infections will be evident again – thanks to the Omicron BA.5 sub-option. Lauterbach announced that an improved vaccine will be available from the end of September that could limit the spread of this highly contagious variant of the virus. However, you also need to be well prepared.

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