Public Policy Dynamics Germany

by RPP colleagues

Health and Politics in Germany

Total COVID-19 cases:2,000,958
14-day total COVID-19 cases per 100,000:292.2
14-day change:-86.9
Total COVID-19 deaths:44,994
14-day rise:14,868
  • Between 15 and 17 January 2021, 1,001 delegates of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) will elect the next party leader who might be the party’s candidate as chancellor in the Federal elections in September this year. Besides the federal elections on 26 September, there are six state elections planned. This further highlights the importance on the outcome of the party leader elections, as this will demonstrate the Conservatives’ content-wise directions for years to come.
  • Statutorily insured parents can apply for 20 instead of 10 days of children's sickness benefit per child in 2021, and a maximum of 45 days in total if there are several children. The entitlement also exists if a child has to be cared for at home because schools or nurseries are closed, compulsory attendance at school has been lifted or access to the nurseries care services has been restricted.
  • The vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in Germany started on 27 December. Several hundred thousand people have received a vaccination dose so far. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reports regularly on progress. Currently around 842,455 have been vaccinated.

Politics

  • Between 15 and 17 January 2021, 1,001 delegates of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) are electing the next party leader who might be the party’s candidate as chancellor in the Federal elections in September this year. There are speculations that apart from the three candidates (Armin Laschet, Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen) the Minister of Bavaria, Markus Söder (Christian Social Union, CSU) and the Minister of Health, Jens Spahn (CDU) also have aspirations to fill Angela Merkel’s position in case the CDU-CSU wins the Federal elections.
  • As polls show that Söder is the preferred chancellor candidate among CDU/CSU sympathisers and in the general population alike, the decision on the candidate for the federal elections will most likely not be determined until after the election for party leader.
  • Besides the federal elections on 26 September, there are six state elections planned in Baden-Württemberg, Berlin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, which further highlights the importance of the outcome of the party leader elections, as this will demonstrate the Conservatives’ policy directions for years to come.

 

Health

  • Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn has made a government statement on the COVID-19 situation and the start of vaccinations in Germany and Europe by affirming that “step by step we are getting to the point where we no longer let the pandemic control our lives but learn to control the pandemic”.
  • Around 842,455 people have been vaccinated in Germany as of today (15 January). The Government seeks to raise the population’s willingness to get vaccinated via an information campaign titled "Deutschland krempelt die Ärmel hoch" (Germany rolls up its sleeves). In the first phase of the vaccinations, the focus is on those who need to be protected most urgently. Accordingly, it is first the turn of people over 80 years of age, people in retirement and nursing homes, their caregivers as well as medical staff.
  • So far, only a five-digit number of vaccine doses are administered daily in Germany. There are several reasons for this, such as initial delivery problems. Further, not all vaccination centres have started to operate fully yet. Lastly, among the first vaccination beneficiaries are many elderly people who cannot be vaccinated in a vaccination centres but need to await a visit by a mobile vaccination team to vaccinate them in their homes.

 

COVID-19

  • In 2021, parents with statutory health insurance can claim 20 days of child sickness benefit per child and per parent instead of 10, and a maximum of 45 days in total if there are several children.
  • The entitlement also exists if a child has to be cared for at home because schools or nurseries are closed, compulsory attendance at school has been lifted or access to the nurseries care services has been restricted. Parents can also apply for child sickness benefit if they can work in a home office. For single parents, the entitlement increases by 20 to 40 days per child and parent, up to a maximum of 90 days if there are several children. This new regulation applies retroactively from 5 January.
  • The additional benefits are billed through the health insurance funds. To compensate for these expenses, the Federal Government will make an additional federal subsidy of €300 million to the liquidity reserve of the health fund as of 1 April 2021. How high the costs actually turn out to be depends on how many parents apply for children's sickness benefits. The compensation of expenses exceeding this amount will therefore take place via a peak settlement on 1 July 2022.

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