Faced with increasing rates of infection by the coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout Germany, the federal states did not wait for the approval of the federal government of Berlin to tighten the restrictions in order to curb the wave of infections.
Several states, led by parties across the political spectrum, announced new measures aimed primarily at people who are not vaccinated.
Bavaria, in the south, restricted access to restaurants and hotels only to those who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, under the so-called “2G” rule, because of the initial letters of the German terms.
These establishments are prohibited for people who have not been fully vaccinated, even if they can present a negative COVID-19 test.
Five Bavarian districts had infection rates of more than 1,000 per 100,000 people in the past seven days, several times the national average.
The region’s capital, Munich, announced the cancellation of its traditional Christmas market.
“The dramatic situation of our hospitals and the exponential increase in infection figures leave me no other option,” said the mayor. Dieter Reiter.
According Reiter, smaller private Christmas markets will continue to be allowed in Munich, as long as the number of visitors can be controlled.
The Bavarian Prime Minister, the Conservative Markus Söder, advocated a national approach: “What is needed is a comprehensive 2G standard in Germany.”
Söder demanded that immunized citizens receive a booster vaccination five months or more after their last injection, the legal obligation to vaccinate certain groups of professionals – one of the most sensitive debates in Germany at the moment – and the use of masks in more public places.
Hendrik Wüst, Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, the country’s most populous, also announced restrictions under the 2G rule in his state.
Wüst added an even stricter “2G plus” rule for certain events – such as Carnival events, which are often very crowded – meaning that even those who have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 will have to test negative.
In the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the only state in which the Green Party leads a coalition government, large sectors of public life will also be inaccessible to the unvaccinated.
Restaurants, museums and other public spaces, such as gyms, swimming pools and music schools, will only be able to receive visitors under the 2G rule. Children in schools must wear masks.
On ThuringiaIn eastern Germany, where a leftist is prime minister, a 2G standard was announced for restaurants and cafes, hotels, hostels and large events. Children and adolescents – the vast majority of whom have not been vaccinated throughout the country – are exempt. The regulations are expected to go into effect next week.
Nationally, the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days increased again to a new high of 312.4, according to official figures. A week ago it was 213.7.
The rate of hospitalization continues to grow, and in the last 24 hours there were 265 deaths related to the COVID-19.
Rising infections are putting enormous pressure on negotiations to form a new Berlin coalition government.
The September elections changed the political landscape and was a defeat for the Conservatives, who have been in power for a decade and a half.
The more than likely incoming coalition, made up of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Liberals, has not been tested at the national level, making the negotiations more complicated than usual.
The probable future Chancellor, the Social Democrat Olaf ScholzHe pointed out that the three parties will be able to make the “necessary decisions to face the infection situation.”
Critics say the constellation is unable to act effectively in the face of the rapidly evolving pandemic.
Parties negotiating a coalition have two more days to make a formal joint proposal until a crucial meeting between federal and state leaders on Thursday and an expected vote in Parliament.