"No more basis": FDP pushes for the end of the mask requirement on buses and trains

Corona is no longer a pandemic, says virologist Drosten.

"No more basis": FDP pushes for the end of the mask requirement on buses and trains

Corona is no longer a pandemic, says virologist Drosten. A through ball for the FDP, which now wants to end the last protective measures as quickly as possible. Minister of Health Lauterbach countered this and received encouragement from doctors and from economics.

The FDP is continuing to put pressure on all corona restrictions to be lifted. The Secretary General of the Liberals, Bijan Djir-Sarai, called on the federal states to immediately abolish the obligation to wear masks on buses and trains. "There is no longer any basis for restrictions on fundamental rights. The federal states must also act and react to the changed situation," Djir-Sarai told the "Bild" newspaper. A change in the Infection Protection Act is therefore also a constitutionally necessary step that must be taken now, demanded the FDP politician in the direction of Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach.

The federal states themselves decide whether masks are compulsory in buses and trains in local transport. For long-distance trains and long-distance buses, FFP2 masks are compulsory nationwide until April 7, 2023. The mask requirement in local transport has already been abolished in Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt, and it will expire in Schleswig-Holstein at the end of the year. In a "Bild" survey of the other federal states as to whether they would immediately abolish the obligation to wear masks in public transport, none of them answered "yes".

The debate about the abolition of all corona restrictions flared up again after the virologist Christian Drosten said in an interview with the “Tagesspiegel”, among other things, that in his opinion the pandemic was over and had entered the endemic phase. In response, Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann called for the "last corona protection measures" to be ended.

FDP Vice Wolfgang Kubicki also called on Lauterbach to change the Infection Protection Act “quickly”. "Christian Drosten is one of the last experts to speak of a transition to endemics. Karl Lauterbach must now realize that there can no longer be any justification for restrictions on fundamental rights," said the Bundestag Vice President of the "Rheinische Post".

Lauterbach rejected calls for a quick end to the existing corona measures. The situation has defused somewhat and the virus is entering an endemic phase, said the SPD politician on the ZDF "heute journal". However, with a view to full clinics, overworked staff and excess mortality, not all measures should be dropped immediately. "We mustn't step on the slippery slope here," warned Lauterbach. After the winter you can expect a much more relaxed situation. "After three years of the pandemic, a few weeks doesn't matter," Lauterbach asked for patience.

There was also clear opposition from the Marburger Bund medical association. "The lifting of all measures is deeply unsound with the clinic staff, who have done a lot during the pandemic and have just reached the limits of resilience again," said Susanne Johna, chair of the association, to the editorial network Germany. Less than a week ago, hospital staff, nurses and resident doctors were begged by politicians to work more and work overtime even over Christmas because of the wave of infections, Johna said.

Bavaria's Health Minister Klaus Holetschek believes that it is time to move from a phase of obligations to a phase of recommendations and personal responsibility. Of course, for example, the recommendation to continue to wear protective masks voluntarily in public transport would also make sense in the future - also with a view to other respiratory diseases, said the "Augsburger Allgemeine". The CSU politician called on the federal government to convert the mask requirement in long-distance transport introduced because of Corona into a recommendation.

The head of economics, Monika Schnitzer, is uneasy about the debate about lifting the remaining corona measures. The restrictions that still exist, such as the obligation to wear masks in local and long-distance public transport, do not restrict economic activity, but reduce corona infections and other respiratory diseases, Schnitzer told the newspapers of the Funke media group. "Sick leave is currently above average. Lifting these restrictions could further increase sick leave, which would have a negative impact on the economy," Schnitzer pointed out.

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