How to get the country out of the restrictions?

How to get the country out of the restrictions?

There are signs of hope in the corona crisis. The number of newly infected people no longer seems to be rising as quickly as before, nor does the number of those who die after contracting covid 19. On the other hand, the number of convalescents is increasing.

But chancellor angela merkel (CDU) warns not to become reckless. There is no all-clear yet. At least for the time being, the state's already massive encroachments on freedom of assembly, movement, trade and religion do not have to be made even more severe.

The glimmer of hope was nevertheless allowed to put federal and state governments under pressure to explain to the citizens after easter how things would continue and how to get out of the restrictions again. While NRW minister president armin laschet (CDU) wants to talk about exit strategies, the chancellor is holding back in the debate.

On wednesday after easter, merkel plans to discuss with minister presidents possible easing of massive restrictions on public life and economy. The intention is to reintroduce a standardized approach as far as possible throughout the country. But some changes depend on the regional situation. A mab for the urgency with which the ramp-up is carried out could be the degree of systemic relevance of the industry. Authorities are arguably more important than beauty salons.

Some ideas on how this could be done are already on the market. But so far these ideas and proposals are still very vague. Because a lot depends on how the infection figures develop over easter. The country must not be thrown back in the pandemic by loosening restrictions too far, warns merkel. This much seems clear: it will not go in one fell swoop. Rather, the restrictions must be relaxed step by step, they say. Here are some considerations:

SCHOOLS FIRST? One of the most important things is that the schools are open. Because it also depends on whether the parents can go back to work. But heinz-peter meidinger, president of the german teachers' association, told dpa: "i am sure that there will be no full start of classes at the schools after the easter vacations."

If federal and state governments loosen restrictions, schools could return to classes "gradually" – starting with the final classes for high school diploma, middle school diploma and high school diploma. They should be able to prepare for exams in class.

The ministers of education of the states had agreed at the end of march that the school-leaving examinations should take place despite the corona crisis. In hesse and rhineland-palatinate, high school examinations were held under strict hygiene regulations even during the period of school closures.

An expert of the national academy of sciences leopoldina told the "spiegel" that in the next few weeks, the first schools could probably attend classes again. The opening should first be limited to the older ones, because they are trusted to handle protective masks sensibly and to keep the necessary distance. "Kindergartners can't do that," researcher is quoted as saying. The youngest should stay at home for now.

Keeping the necessary distance could also mean splitting up classes. Exceptions were needed for high-risk groups among schoolchildren and teachers. But even if operations start up again soon, it will take until well into the next school year to close the "learning gaps" that have arisen, predicts meidinger.

For parents, the opening of daycare centers is at least as important as the opening of schools. The problem: the children are too young for distance rules to be strictly observed.

Moreover, even if the federal and state governments decide next week to gradually open the schools, this will require a lead time of up to a week so that the janitor, cafeteria and bus companies can start up again.

CARE: merkel rejects different corona restrictions for the young and the old. "We must think of the elderly and the young and the parents and the employees and everyone equally."

In order to make improvements for the elderly possible, a "basic protection" must be fulfilled, according to the words of the chairman of the german foundation for patient protection, eugen brysch. As soon as there is protection against infection for those in need of care, "visits can be made through access gates," he tells dpa. In addition, test teams in elderly care should ensure that people in need of care with flu symptoms are tested immediately. In addition, a start should be made on the systematic testing of all those in need of care in each home. Municipalities should set up corona task forces.

Public institutions/authorities: many things have to be settled online with the authorities at the state and municipal level. But some issues require personal appearance. At the same time, public access is often severely limited. Some things are postponed because of this – court hearings, weddings, passport matters.

PRODUCING INDUSTRY: the chancellor has pointed out that it was the manufacturing industry, led by the automotive industry itself, that sent its workers home because of the pandemic. In fact, it would be perfectly possible to work on the assembly line with an appropriate distance and a simple respirator. But the problem is the interrupted supply chains. It may take some time to complete these tests again. In border regions, especially with france or austria and italy, it could be difficult because of the restrictions for commuters.

In a letter to the federal government and the federal parliament, the bundesverband mittelstandische wirtschaft demands that "the economy be gradually restarted as soon as possible after easter". The economic damage could not be compensated for years, says the letter, which is available to dpa. "The presentation of an exit strategy alone is capable of restoring confidence to the economy and the workforce."

TRADE: but in order for manufacturers and suppliers to resume production, the trade must also be able to ensure the necessary sales, car dealers in association with manufacturers and suppliers warn. In addition to car dealers, seasonal clothing and sports stores in particular are complaining about the effects of the corona pandemic because, unlike grocery stores, they are not essential to consumers. When they can open again is unclear.

TOURISM/GASTRONOMY: planes stay on the ground because freedom of travel is massively restricted throughout europe and the world. No relaxations are foreseeable before the middle, end of april and these may depend on the respective region anyway.

It is not yet clear when bars, pubs, restaurants and hotels will be allowed to reopen. Especially in smaller catering establishments, the minimum distance of 1.5 meters is difficult to maintain. It will then also depend on whether the tourist strongholds on the north and baltic seas or in the mountains can receive guests again.

Over easter, at any rate, a number of federal states – or at least some regions – are shutting themselves off completely. Some even believe that even in the summer there is no all-clear for vacationers.

SERVICES: hairdressers, beauty and massage salons and many other service providers have had to close their businesses because of the pandemic. Contact with the customer seemed too close. However, such small companies usually have few backlogs and quickly run into note. For them, it is important that the contact barriers are reduced as quickly as possible. Simple respirators, for example, were particularly important in these industries. Here, a reopening could depend on how quickly germany can procure the necessary supply of protective masks and clothing.

AGRICULTURE: after seasonal workers were initially to be locked out, the federal government rowed back. You may come now. The basic principle is: only those who have a valid reason for traveling are allowed to enter the country. This has been done to accommodate commuters, truck drivers with essential goods and seasonal workers.

Rough events: how long there may be no more rough events is not foreseeable. The risk of infection is too great, for example at football matches or festivals. And cultural institutions such as theaters and cinemas could also remain closed for a long time yet.

CHURCHES/MOSKS/SYNAGOGENS: meetings in churches, mosques or synagogues are also rough events – so here, too, it is not possible to predict when believers will be able to pray together again.

EUROPE: EU commission says corona restrictions should be relaxed only in small, strictly controlled steps over a period of several months. This is the conclusion of the draft exit strategy, which was made available to dpa. In order for a gradual easing of restrictions to tackle an increase in new cases, two conditions would have to be met: a noticeable slowdown in the spread of coronavirus and a sufficient number of hospital and intensive care beds.

Sufficient time between relaxations – for example, a month – was needed to observe the effect. It should be started at the local level, it says. This would allow restrictions to be reintroduced if needed. Gradually, intra-european border controls should also be lifted. Thereby agreements of neighboring states are necessary. The commission also advises the economy to make a smooth transition. Not all employees were allowed to return to work at the same time. Initially, smaller gatherings of people should be allowed as long as distance is kept – first in stores and schools, then in restaurants and bars.

The experts of the national academy of sciences leopoldina warn that seven points should be taken into account in addition to distance and hygiene recommendations so that rules can be relaxed:

A gradual relaxation of the mabnahme should be accompanied by the wearing of flat-covering mouth-nose protection. "The shortage should already be covered by homemade mouth-nose protection, scarves and scarves," she said.

In addition, digital tools should be used in which people "voluntarily and in compliance with data protection and personal rights" make data available about possible infection routes. In addition, the capacity for corona testing should be further increased and, during a transitional period, veterinary facilities should also be used.

It is also important to test the population in a representative way. An overview of acute infections can be gained in this way. In the case of newly diagnosed patients, the risk factors such as age, smoking or previous illnesses must be comprehensively recorded. Other acutely or permanently ill people were not allowed to fall out of the supply system.