Thuringia’s Prime Minister considers bans on accommodation for sham solutions. People need to understand that their health is at stake.
taz: Mr. Ramelow, after the summit is before the summit. The prime minister couldn again fail to agree on uniform measures at the meeting in the Federal Chancellery. Why is it so difficult now after it was so fast in the spring?
Bodo Ramelow: I explicitly disagree. There is a uniform package. The alarm value of 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants applies nationwide. The alarm value of 50 new infections is also included. All measures that are important for the toolbox of the local health authorities are in the resolution. That is a significant step forward.
But the ban on accommodation for people from risk areas is still controversial.
We discussed the ban on accommodation for a long time and looked for a better way. The irritation between the countries is still great. Baden-Württemberg, for example, interpreted the ban in such a way that business travelers were also not allowed to stay overnight in Baden-Württemberg. As a result, trains from Berlin to Stuttgart could no longer be manned with Berlin train drivers because they were not allowed to stay overnight in Stuttgart. So completely crazy situations. We need to focus on fighting infection again. And that’s why we at the MPK have resolved to deal with the question of how we deal with tourist travel and mobility next week in order to come up with a better proposal.
What are the prospects for an agreement?
The majority was no longer given on Wednesday evening for the ban on accommodation. But there are countries that are still in favor, so it is pragmatic to wait until the end of the autumn break. And until then, Manuela Schwesig insisted, we need an expansion of the instrument box for the health authorities. We have to assess hotspots according to whether there is a diffuse outbreak or whether it can be contained on site. If it is a diffuse outbreak, there may even be requirements not to leave the district.
In your opinion, what speaks against a ban on accommodation for tourist trips?
Nothing has changed in my position. I don’t want to decide in Thuringia what is going on in Berlin, Stuttgart or Freiburg, but the health authorities there have to decide. But it doesn’t depend on my opinion, but on whether we can find a common position that I can ultimately support.
The 64-year-old politician of the Left Party has been Prime Minister of Thuringia for six years with a brief interruption.
The aim is to keep people from risk areas from traveling. At the moment there are only appeals, but they are often not heard.
We have developed hygiene concepts in all hotels in Thuringia. Sometimes the temperature is measured at check-in or you have to prove that you have not been in contact with people who tested positive. Our hoteliers work hard here. And that means that you can accommodate. We don’t want to fight hotels, we want to fight the virus.
So do economic considerations speak against it?
No. It’s about the virus. And if there are no viruses, why should I maintain a measure that has no effect? We’re not in show business. The ban on accommodation is not a solution, but a sham solution that I am talked about too much. It is not a question of whether Prime Minister A or B won. No, we have to win the fight against the virus.
The Accommodation verbot is to be checked for effectiveness by November 8th. Which criteria do you apply?
What are the best ways to prevent virus spread. But I think two other points are more decisive, namely the new test strategy and the model quarantine regulation. These help us focus containment on the scene.
According to the testing strategy, anyone with symptoms can deal and their contacts as Let people test free of charge in facilities where Corona occurs. The model quarantine ordinance states that foreign travelers from risk areas must be in quarantine for 10 days after entering the country.
It is important that the test strategy is enforced nationwide. And the model quarantine regulation is about the millions of people who visit and leave Germany every day.
Die should implement the federal states. But shouldn’t there really be border controls upon entry?
Not necessarily. The health authorities need to know who got off which aircraft. There must be an obligation for travelers who come by car to report.
Anyone arriving by car is initially not recorded.
Right. Unless we would do a sample. But there must be an obligation for everyone to report.
And whoever violates it, has to pay a fine?
The violations are less of an issue for me than the question of whether they bring Corona. I spent a day with the Swedish ambassador on Tuesday and had them explain to me how it works in Sweden. There is an amazing difference. In Sweden, what the Public Health Authority recommends is understood as an instruction. With us you think about whether you should keep it or not, and otherwise always scream for punishment. People need to understand that this is about their health and the health of their neighbors. So I want people to get in touch on their own initiative. I want a culture that allows people to do that, and it has to be low-threshold enough to make it work.
Uniform conditions now apply in Hotspots: stricter mask requirements and restrictions on private parties. But there is no uniform catalog of fines. Why not?
I don’t know why it should exist. An average of 50 euros applies to violations.
In Thuringia you have to pay 60 euros, in Berlin 50 to 500 euros, in Bavaria 150 euros.
So what, does that change anything about the virus?
Perhaps it increases the acceptance of conditions
It is crucial that these are controlled. There is no point in imposing a fine of 500 euros if there is no control. Everything else is symbolic politics. Yesterday we agreed to step up controls, also with the support of the Federal Police. Horst Seehofer has expressly announced this. And we want to strengthen the health authorities in Thuringia and possibly relocate employees from other offices.
You also want to employ medical students.
Of course, why not? They should help with follow-up, record contact persons and send them to the test. Tracking is the key to fighting the pandemic. If we overload the health authorities, the pandemic will break out again in an uncontrolled manner.
What do you think of a reinforcement by the Bundeswehr in the follow-up of contacts?
Very well. Do we. We couldn’t maintain some things in Thuringia if we hadn’t had the Bundeswehr. There was no medical officer present in Sonneberg because the person had been sick for a long time. A medical officer of the Bundeswehr helped out, so I can only thank the Bundeswehr warmly.
Do you understand when politicians refuse such reinforcements on fundamental grounds?
No. The most beautiful peace work I can imagine is a Bundeswehr soldier who helps counter epidemics.
France declared a health emergency again on Wednesday. In the end there could be a new lockdown. How far are we in Germany from such a scenario?
I’m looking at this from a state where we have very small numbers. But eight weeks ago we only had 47 actively infected people, now we have almost 500 actively infected people, almost a tenfold increase. I find that worrying. The aim is to reduce the number of new infections immediately and to avoid overloading the health authorities.
Do you know where the tenfold comes from?
These are diffuse causes. We know every single infected person. The great concern that the spread is taking place in schools or by children has not come true. On the other hand, return travelers and family celebrations play a bigger role. Family celebrations are currently the biggest hotspot with us.