Health Minister Lauterbach is considering extending the mask requirement in the event of a new corona wave in autumn. Headwind from the FDP is not long in coming. Party Vice Kubicki makes the line of his party clear and raises serious allegations against the previous pandemic policy.
FDP Vice Wolfgang Kubicki has called for a parliamentary review of the corona policy and made it clear that his party will only support possible renewed corona restrictions in autumn under strict conditions. "There will not be another autumn and winter in which fundamental rights are restricted due to a diffuse data fog," said the Bundestag Vice President. Meanwhile, education unions are already calling for precautions for the coming school year.
Kubicki accused the Federal Ministry of Health and the Robert Koch Institute of not being able to "collect reasonably usable data" in more than two years of the pandemic. The Free Democrats will only change the Infection Protection Act again to make stricter measures possible again if this change can be sufficiently scientifically justified and is no longer based on mere allegations, as has almost always been the case in the past .
Kubicki's party colleague, Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann, emphasized the necessary legal framework for possible future corona measures. He criticized the initiative by Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach to prepare for a possible mask requirement from autumn. "I am in favor of us following the law. That provides for an evaluation," Buschmann told the Funke newspapers. The results of the evaluation should "absolutely" be taken into account "before we prematurely commit to individual measures," said the FDP politician.
Lauterbach announced on Wednesday evening in the ZDF program “Markus Lanz” that he wanted to create the possibility for autumn to make masks compulsory indoors again in the event of a new corona wave. As part of the work on the Infection Protection Act, which expires in September, Lauterbach considers it "absolutely necessary" to enable the option of wearing masks indoors. Lauterbach had already spoken out in April in favor of amending the Infection Protection Act by autumn so that the known containment measures would be possible again.
According to the currently applicable Infection Protection Act, mask requirements are still permitted in a few areas such as medical practices or public transport, and there may still be compulsory tests in schools. In order to be able to order further measures, the federal states must declare regions as hotspots by state parliament resolution. According to the law, all these rules can only be applied until September 23rd.
The President of the German Teachers' Association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, is also in favor of compulsory masks in schools being prescribed again. "Politicians are again not doing their homework on the topic of pandemics and schools," he told the editorial network Germany. In his opinion, masks could be “a decisive factor” in a possible autumn corona wave in order to keep schools open. The federal government must therefore quickly adapt the Infection Protection Act again.
The chairwoman of the education and science union, Maike Finnern, also calls for preparations for the autumn with a view to the schools: “A good test strategy and wearing masks in the buildings can also play a decisive role in the future. The legal basis for this must now be in place be created for a mask requirement, for example, so that measures can take effect quickly and legally if necessary," she said.
Kubicki defended his party's corona policy, which had enforced in the traffic light coalition that corona restrictions expire earlier than advocated by SPD or Green representatives: "It is currently apparent that the current course, which the FDP is taking under heavy hostility enforced, did not lead to the predicted collapse of the healthcare system." He looks forward to future discussions about possible further tightening with great composure, said the FDP deputy, pointing out that this requires the "positive approval of all coalition partners".
According to Kubicki, “a number of mistakes” have been made in the corona policy of the past two years. He named the school closures, an "inhumane" isolation of residents of old people's homes or the "15-kilometer Corona leash" - at times, citizens were allowed to move a maximum of 15 kilometers from their place of residence. This policy harmed children and the elderly the most. "We owe them a lot: I believe that only a reasonable parliamentary review and unreserved clarification can help to recognize mistakes as such and thus also to fill in social rifts."