In Berlin, the obligation to wear masks indoors is likely to be reintroduced in autumn. Health Senator Ulrike Gote (Greens) is currently assuming this. “We can probably prepare for wearing a mask,” Gote said on Tuesday after the Senate session.
The health senator presented an initial strategy for fighting the pandemic in autumn on Tuesday. Accordingly, one must be prepared for three possible scenarios for the fall. Until then, the first virus variant would be less disease-causing than it is currently, so the situation would continue to ease and no further measures would be necessary.
Scenario two assumes a situation as it currently exists. In the third case, the emergence of a new, more dangerous virus variant, on the other hand, significantly stricter protective measures would again be considered, said Gote.
In order to be able to react appropriately to the respective situation, there is a toolbox that can be used as desired – and which above all includes measures that are already known from the past pandemic years. Gote mentioned a mask requirement in closed rooms, possibly also in retail, access restrictions at major events and a test requirement for medical and nursing staff.
However, nothing has been decided yet, emphasized the health senator. “We have not yet agreed on any measures because we do not know what the situation will be like then.” In addition, the country currently lacks any legal basis to introduce the planned measures. Only the federal government can grant this with an amendment to the Federal Infection Protection Act, which expires in September.
“Everything that we discussed today is not possible because the Federal Infection Protection Act does not provide it,” said Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD). Berlin will urge the Bundesrat to have more opportunities in the future. “We have a very clear position on that.”
Despite the increasing number of infections, Health Senator Gote Berlin currently sees “no reason to worry” with regard to the corona virus. Many Berliners are well protected. Only seven percent of the population are currently not vaccinated or recovered. This “huge basic immunization” means a completely different situation for the fall than in previous years, said Gote.
Nevertheless, she is expecting a recommendation from the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) for renewed vaccination of all citizens in the autumn, explained the health senator. The capacities of the general practitioners would probably be sufficient for this vaccination campaign – as long as a new virus variant does not appear.
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The conditions for the Corona citizen tests will change from Friday, July 1st. According to federal plans, the rapid tests will then only be free for visits to care facilities and hospitals, for pregnant women and small children. All other citizens will pay three euros per test in the future.
A plan that the Senate “discussed critically,” said the senator. “This self-contribution can lead to social imbalances and groups that we want to protect becoming isolated.” The federal states wanted to press the federal government again to drop the self-contribution.