Public Policy Dynamics Germany #3

by RPP colleagues

Health and Politics in Germany

Total COVID-19 cases:2,320,093
14-day total COVID-19 cases per 100,000:176.92
14-day change:-11.1
Total COVID-19 deaths:64,191
14-day rise:8,449
  • Chancellor Merkel and the federal ministers of the states have decided that the national lockdown is to be extended until 7 March, with a few exceptions. States may only relax lockdown restrictions if a "stable" incidence of no more than 35 new infections per 100,000 population is reached within seven days. These decisions are not welcomed by all the federal ministers, which could lead to varying implementation of lockdown restriction from state to state.
  • Nearly 80 percent of elderly people living in care homes have received their first vaccination – nearly half of whom have been vaccinated twice. However, according to critics, the overall vaccination campaign is moving slowly. According to the Permanent Committee on Vaccination, the newly approved vaccine from AstraZeneca can be only issued to people between the ages of 18 to 64.
  • The German Ethics Council has issued a recommendation stating that, due to the fact that the infectivity of vaccinated persons cannot be reliably estimated, individual withdrawal of state restrictions on the liberty of vaccinated persons should not take place. The Liberal Democrats interpret the Council´s last point as a confirmation of their political agenda and comment that as soon as there is scientific evidence, all restrictions should be lifted for the vaccinated part of the population.

Politics

  • Chancellor Merkel and the federal ministers of the states held a meeting on 10 February regarding lockdown restrictions, opting to extend restrictions until 7 March, with a few exceptions (hairdressers can open on 1 March). States can only issue further relaxations of the lockdown restrictions if a "stable" incidence of no more than 35 new infections per 100,000 population is reached within seven days.
  • These decisions have not been universally welcomed by all federal ministers, which could lead to varying implementation of lockdown restrictions from state to state. Many media outlets have criticized the strategy of opening schools and the wider education sector. For one, the strategy is the first of its kind, coming much too late, and secondly, this strategy is rather a recommendation than a binding step-by-step guide.
  • Between 30 January and 17 February, travel restrictions are in place for individuals traveling from areas that have noticeable incidences of the emerging strains of Covid-19. As of today (12 February), Health Minister Jens Spahn (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) and Lothar Wieler, President of the Robert Koch-Institute (RKI), are discussing possible extensions and alterations to the prevailing travel restrictions.

 

Health

  • Nearly 80 percent of elderly people living in care homes have received their first vaccination – nearly half of whom have been vaccinated twice – as of 8 February, as Minister of Health Jens Spahn said at a press conference. However, according to critics, the overall vaccination campaign is moving slowly.
  • Ahead of the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine on 29 January, the Standing Committee on Vaccination (Ständige Impfkomission, STIKO) at the Robert Koch Institute issued a recommendation on that vaccine stating that, due to a lack of scientific evidence on the protection from Covid-19 in the age group of 65+ years.
  • Therefore, the newly approved vaccine from AstraZeneca can be only issued to people between the ages of 18 to 64. According to Jens Spahn, while regulation will be adapted to the said age recommendation for the AstraZeneca vaccine, the vaccination and prioritisation plan for Germany will not be amended.

 

COVID-19

  • The German Ethics Council has issued a recommendation stating that the lifting or loosening of measures should not be based solely on the number of infections, but rather take into account the number of deaths and number of severe Covid-19 courses of disease. The Council further recommends extended rights for high-risk individuals without vaccination once the bans are lifted, for example the right for distant learning after school reopen for children with pre-existing conditions.
  • Entering on a topic of political and legal debate on special rights for vaccinated people that will certainly dominate this year, the Council’s document continues by concluding that “at the present time, due to the fact that the infectivity of vaccinated persons cannot be reliably estimated, individual withdrawal of state restrictions on the liberty of vaccinated persons should not take place”.
  • The Liberal Democratic party has been vocal on its criticism of the Government and the measures against the pandemic it has been introducing, often arguing that it limits the individual rights of Germany’s citizens. Stephan Thomae, Member of the German Bundestag for the Liberal Democrats, interprets the Council’s last point as a confirmation of this view. He states that the Council is right, and that as soon as there is scientific evidence that vaccinated individuals do not spread the virus, restrictions can be lifted for the vaccinated part of the population.

Cookie-Settings

At rpp-group.com we use cookies (e.g. tracking and analytical cookies), which enable us to analyse and measure user data. Further information can be found here: