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Armin Laschet's "bridge lockdown" proposal gets muted response

Armin Laschet's "bridge lockdown" proposal gets muted response

Armin Laschet's "bridge lockdown" proposal gets muted response

The state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, is calling for emergency talks to be held between the federal states this week, so that a “bridge lockdown” can be introduced. The reaction to the proposal has been mixed. 

Laschet calls for short but tough lockdown to bridge the gap

Laschet, who earlier this year took over as leader of Angela Merkel’s CDU party, has called for the next coronavirus summit, currently scheduled for April 12, to be brought forward so that the federal and state governments can discuss his proposal to adopt a short but tough lockdown. 

The aim of a “bridge lockdown” would be to bridge the gap, keeping infections as low as possible, until more people in Germany have been vaccinated against COVID-19. “In a very short time, 20 percent, then 30, 40 percent of the German population will be vaccinated and now scientists are telling us that we should bridge up to this point in time - it’s about once again making the effort, for two or three weeks, to restrict public life,” Laschet told broadcaster ZDF on Tuesday. 

Mixed response to new lockdown proposal

The response to Laschet’s suggestion has been mixed, to say the least. Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn and other state leaders in regions including Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg have all previously indicated that they are in favour of stricter, more uniform coronavirus measures. 

However, not everybody is on board. “I think it is still very much unclear what Mr. Laschet means by this,” said the mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, to ARD on Monday. “A bridge lockdown for a transitional period, and then what measures? And it will apply until how many people have been vaccinated? What does that mean?” 

The head of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, Gerd Ladsberg, also told ZDF he wasn’t convinced by the idea.“We don’t even know how long it will take for vaccinations to succeed in reducing infections,” he said, and instead suggested that states should focus on tightening up the measures already in place. 

Bodo Ramelow, the state premier of Thuringia, was also sceptical. He said it was certainly possible for the federal states to schedule a last-minute meeting, but stressed that “something has to be on the table beforehand that we can really decide on together and, above all, that we can implement.” 

“Act of desperation”?

The CSU General Secretary Markus Blume said that Bavaria would only agree to bring forward the next summit if all other leaders were fundamentally ready to tighten the current lockdown - a clear criticism of the states’ patchwork adoption of the rules agreed to at the previous coronavirus summit. “A new summit is of no use if everyone does their own thing again afterwards,” he said. 

The vice-chairman of the FDP, Wolfgang Kubicki, was even more explicit in his criticism, describing Laschet’s move as an “act of desperation”. He told the Funke media group that the plan to impose more restrictions on the population of Germany was designed to “cover up the failure of the vaccination strategy of the CDU-led federal government.”

On Tuesday, health authorities in Germany reported 6.885 new cases of COVID-19 and 90 new deaths to the Robert Koch Institute. The real numbers are likely higher because fewer tests are carried out and reported over public holidays like Easter. 

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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