Robert Koch Institute railed against the ban on accommodation

Berlin The President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler, has warned of the negative consequences of the so-called ban on accommodation to contain the corona pandemic. “Mobility is one of the drivers of this pandemic,” Wieler told the Phoenix broadcaster. In the corona measures agreed between the federal government and the federal states, he lacks the “binding force”.

“Among other things, this means that the laboratories are currently unable to stock up on reagents for autumn and winter in order to be able to bridge any future and existing delivery bottlenecks.” The overnight stay ban has so far applied to guests from German regions in which 50 or more new corona cases per 100,000 inhabitants were registered within seven days.

The ban on accommodation, which applies to people from risk areas in some federal states, was the most controversial topic in the eight-hour negotiations between Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) with the 16 prime ministers on new corona restrictions on Wednesday.

At the meeting, however, the federal and state governments could not agree on a common line for the measure. Some federal states want to stick to it for the time being during the autumn break. The controversial measure is to be checked for effectiveness by November 8th.

Saxony and Saarland voluntarily lift the ban on accommodation

For many citizens from places with very high numbers of corona infections, it still applies that they may only be accommodated when traveling within Germany if they can present a negative corona test no more than 48 hours old.

In Baden-Württemberg, the ban on accommodation must be suspended following a decision by the Administrative Court. The judges granted an urgent motion against the measure on Thursday. The applicants come from the Recklinghausen district in North Rhine-Westphalia, which is above this mark. You had booked a vacation in the Ravensburg district.

Just a few hours later, the Lower Saxony Higher Administrative Court declared the corresponding state regulation for travelers from German Corona hotspots to be illegal in an urgent procedure. The decision was final, the court announced on Thursday in Lüneburg. The operator of a holiday park had complained.

Saxony and Saarland responded of their own accord and lifted the ban on accommodation. In the Free State, the new regulation will apply from Saturday, in Saarland from Friday. “The ban on accommodation is outdated, because from the current perspective it no longer helps to positively influence the infection process,” said Saar Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU). It is also a question of proportionality. Because “in contrast to the summer when there were only a few hotspots within Germany, millions of citizens are now affected.”

Cordoning off risk areas?

The RKI has currently registered 6,638 new infections with the coronavirus. That is around 1,500 more than on Tuesday. It is the highest increase in Germany since the beginning of the pandemic.

Some of the measures decided by the federal and state governments are only “recommendations”, criticized the RKI boss. He would like “some of the measures to be carried out compulsory”, such as the wearing of masks. “We recommend wearing masks indoors and then, of course, we would like the decision-makers to make wearing masks mandatory.”

Wieler can also imagine cordoning off risk areas in order to keep the current corona infection process under control in Germany. “Nine months ago, in a similar interview, I said that I couldn’t imagine that. I can now imagine that such measures would be carried out, ”said Wieler.

When asked about a prognosis for the winter, Wieler said: “If the measures are not tightened, the number of infections will continue to rise”, possibly up to 10,000 new infections every day.

After the federal-state consultations on Wednesday, Merkel spoke of a decision with a view to the ban on accommodation that she was not entirely satisfied with. The question of tourist travel had been discussed for a long time, and the result was that a ban on accommodation was not easy to implement. “That is why we will, by and large, adhere to the existing rules during the autumn break,” said the Chancellor.

Merkel calls for no travel

Merkel asked the citizens, however, to refrain from unnecessary domestic German trips to areas and from areas with high numbers of corona infections.

Adhering to the ban on accommodation means for Berlin, which is considered a risk area, that Berliners are currently not allowed to stay in hotels or guest houses in Brandenburg, for example. The ban does not apply if the visitors can present a negative corona test, are only going on an excursion or visiting someone. In the capital, on the other hand, there is no ban on accommodation for foreign visitors.

Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller (SPD) made his displeasure clear after the deliberations in the Chancellery. In the case of the capital, for example, it is not just a question of relations between Berlin and Brandenburg, of commuter flows and the question of where Berliners are now allowed to travel. “But there are also many people who come to town and may bring infections with them.” Müller named the political or cultural business.

“What would be the consequence then?” Says Müller. “The city has been cordoned off several times in its history, that’s not an option for me.” In this respect, “reasonable appointments” are necessary. “Don’t just recognize the problem, don’t just decide on a measure, but together see how you can carry out the implementation. It’s not just for Berlin, it’s not so easy for the big cities. “

Tourism association: “Herber Rückschlag”

Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) called the postponement of a decision on the accommodation ban a disappointment. The measure was “not proportionate” in its current form, he said. “It hits so many people who have nothing to do with this disease, and that is why it would have been better if there had been an understanding here.”

Criticism also comes from the Greens. “Postponing this decision seems to me to be rather unwise in view of the current infection development,” said the legal policy spokeswoman for the Green parliamentary group, Katja Keul, to the Handelsblatt. “For the next few weeks we are more dependent than ever on the acceptance of the necessary measures in the population. It would be all the more important to strengthen trust in the necessity and meaningfulness of measures. ”An inconsistent domestic German accommodation ban, the effect of which even virologists have questioned, is more“ counterproductive ”.

The FDP transport politician Oliver Luksic spoke of political actionism. “Restricting the freedom of travel is disproportionate and wrong,” said Luksic to the Handelsblatt. “Virologists see no added value, economists and companies fear costs and bureaucracy, and those affected are annoyed by the domestic exclusion.” In addition, test capacities would be unnecessarily tied up.

The regulation is also very controversial in business. The hospitality industry recorded a wave of cancellations in the middle of the autumn holidays and has already announced lawsuits. “It is a major setback for Germany as a travel destination that the bans on accommodation in many federal states initially continue to apply,” said the managing director of the German Tourism Association, Norbert Kunz, on Wednesday evening.

If you follow the rules, vacation in Germany does not pose any particular risk. The hosts of holiday apartments and hotels have proven that they take the contact and hygiene rules seriously and implement them. “Overnight stays are not the problem and should therefore still be possible.”

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