24.08.2022, Berlin: Karl Lauterbach (SPD), Bundesgesundheitsminister, und Marco Buschmann (FDP), Bundesjustizminister, beantworten vor der Bundespressekonferenz Fragen von Journalisten und informieren die Medienvertreter über neue Regeln im Infektionsschutzgesetz, die zuvor im Kabinett beschlossen wurden. Die Bundesregierung hat wieder schärfere staatliche Eingriffsmöglichkeiten für eine erwartete Corona-Welle im Herbst und Winter auf den Weg gebracht. Foto: Wolfgang Kumm/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

It’s a phrase that many children grew up with: “It’s only for your own good.” This expresses paternalism. A regulation is to be enforced, the meaning of which is not explained but declared. At the same time, the person prescribing signals that he has higher insights. The new corona measures that the cabinet decided on Wednesday still breathe this spirit.

However, not because “freedom” should finally triumph over caution, but because people’s sense of responsibility has become very pronounced over the past two and a half years.

The primary goal of politics, to minimize the number of deaths and long-Covid courses and not to overload the health infrastructure, remains correct. But experience has taught that people don’t like to wear a mask when they have to, but that many do it voluntarily once they understand why.

It also remains correct to make masks and tests compulsory for hospitals and care facilities. But in the future, vulnerable groups should protect themselves instead of relying primarily on the willingness of others to protect themselves.

Within Europe, Germany remains the exception. All other countries rely almost entirely on the principle of personal responsibility. Nobody wants to go back to 2G and 3G rules. That would also not be conveyed in this country. But does it make sense to stick to a mask requirement on trains and planes that is hardly enforced?

It is good that Biontech wants to deliver an adapted Omicron vaccine at the beginning of September. It should be available for all ages and on a voluntary basis. The tiresome division into “vaccinated” and “unvaccinated” must stop. In the case of high incidences, it would not be asking too much to show a current and free test result for access to major events. Citizens have matured in the pandemic. You have learned to assess risks and protect yourself. A throwback to the “It’s for your own good” epoch is just that—a throwback.