Calls for nationwide 2G rules in Germany getting louder
On Wednesday, Germany posted yet another record day of cases, with 39.676 new infections reported within 24 hours. The spiralling rate is rekindling a debate about possible restrictions for unvaccinated people, with a growing number of experts calling for 2G rules to be implemented nationwide.
Scientists, doctors and politicians call for 2G across Germany
As the seven-day incidence rate in Germany continues its rapid rise, a growing number of scientists, doctors and politicians are sounding the alarm about pressure on the healthcare system, and calling for the nationwide and consistent implementation of the 2G rule. This would make certain public spaces off-limits to those who are not vaccinated (geimpft) or recovered (genesen).
Dietmar Bartsch, parliamentary group leader for the Left party, and the Marburger Bund doctors’ union, have both called for a nationwide 2G regulation, to avoid having to impose a new lockdown. The Marburger Bund warned: “If we do not introduce a nationwide 2G rule, that would be the next mistake in fighting the pandemic.”
According to Bartsch, “It is a matter of weighing up interests and the question of what is the greater encroachment on fundamental rights: a renewed lockdown with catastrophic consequences, especially for children and families, or a nationwide 2G model.”
These calls were echoed by SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach, who called for the use of 2G to be significantly expanded. “We need either a lockdown or a 2G rule,” he told RND, “and there will no longer be a lockdown.” The new state premier for North Rhine-Westphalia, Hendrik Wüst, also indicated that he was in favour of 2G rules for the leisure sector.
Christian Drosten: Contact restrictions, not 2G
The virologist Christian Drosten, on the other hand, issued a more gloomy prediction, saying that he believes new contact restrictions will be necessary in the coming months, because 3G and even 2G regulations will probably not be sufficient to significantly reduce the number of infections over the winter. “We have a real emergency situation,” he said in his weekly NDR podcast. “We have to do something right now.”
He added that the disadvantage of the 2G rule was that it shifted contacts to the private sphere. Since vaccinated people can also contract and pass on coronavirus, “the virus will simply come into the home,” Drosten said.
Some federal states have already opted to exclude unvaccinated
The parties likely to form Germany’s next government - the SPD, Green and FDP - this week laid out a draft law detailing their future approach to the coronavirus pandemic, which will be discussed in the Bundestag this week. So far, they are not angling for a blanket 2G rule. However, individual federal states are free to decide for themselves whether to impose 2G or 3G.
Some have already acted - for instance, in Saxony, 2G rules apply from this week. In Berlin and Brandenburg, a corresponding regulation is currently being examined, to make the leisure and culture sectors off-limits to unvaccinated people.
For some experts, things can’t move fast enough, since German hospitals are beginning to feel the impact of the rising infection rate. On Wednesday, the number of patients admitted per 100.000 inhabitants within seven days rose to 4,31. The previous high of 15,5 was reached around the Christmas holidays last year.
The Charité hospital in Berlin announced on Tuesday that it would postpone all non-urgent operations, while Christian Karagiannidis, scientific director of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive and Emergency Medicine (DIVI) said that only around 10 percent of intensive care beds in Germany were currently unoccupied.
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