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Germany, sos of doctors: the fourth wave of Covid underway. But without a government in office there is a risk of a vacuum on the measures to be taken

Germany, sos of doctors: the fourth wave of Covid underway. But without a government in office there is a risk of a vacuum on the measures to be taken
Germany, sos of doctors: the fourth wave of Covid underway. But without a government in office there is a risk of a vacuum on the measures to be taken

The weekly incidence of new infections of Covid in Germany is climbing relentlessly. It is already the ninth consecutive day that the pandemic numbers continue to rise and on Friday 22 October the 95.1 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. Figures that have not been read since last May and to which 116 deaths in one day must be added. So the German doctors sound the alarm: Germany has officially entered the fourth wave. The Robert Koch Institute confirms that the numbers are growing dynamically and the heads of the departments of intensive care of hospitals complain that already many beds are not usable for shortage of staff. There are still 22,207 available, but at the beginning of the year they were 26,475, reports the High. And the most alarming situations are recorded in Thuringia, Saxony e Bavaria.

Complicating matters is the fact that the national pandemic picture, which is the basis of the emergency legislation enacted so far, expires November 25 and the Minister of Health Jens Spahn does not want to extend its validity. It is a political competence that it is up to the newly elected but the country, at the moment, does not have a new government in office after the vote on September 26th. Chancellor on Tuesday Angela Merkel and all his ministers will indeed have to rise to Bellevue Palace to receive the certificate of resignation from the hands of the president Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the government will remain in office only for current affairs. All provided for by Article 69 of the German Constitution.

The national epidemic framework is the basis of containment measures of the spread of the virus and must be voted on by Bundestag and from Federal Council at the proposal of the government, which up to now has done so in coordination with the Governors of the countries. An agreement that is valid for three months and can be extended. The last renewal is dated 25 August, but the new Bundestag, even if it is set up on Tuesday, cannot debate laws or form commissions without a new government. On the other hand, the Merkel cabinet will remain in office only for current affairs.

In the absence of the current pandemic state of emergency, the parliaments of the Länder could theoretically legislate autonomously with regional rules, but several judicial rulings have clearly indicated that the basis of their intervention must be anchored in a national pandemic law. Without a federal framework regulation, therefore, Germany risks finding itself in a legislative vacuum which would paralyze the fight against new infections. In this way, the discipline of entry registration to follow the chains of contacts in case of cluster, the standard distancing, hand washing e mandatory mask, but also the rules of access to indoor shops they would no longer have a clear legislative basis.

For the Governor of Bavaria Markus Söder (Csu) the new majority can’t pretend not to see, “You have to be careful to get through autumn and winter” and “without a legal basis of the Federation, citizens would be without defense”. But the head of the Fdp Wolfgang Kubicki replies from a distance that Söder’s requests are “brazen and senseless”: each Land can launch its own measures, pointing the finger at the new protagonists to Berlin Söder would like to “distract from his inability and hide the loss of meaning of his political power that has become evident”.

At the end of their annual meeting in Petersberg in Königswinter, near Bonn, the governors of the 16 Länder nevertheless asked in unison on Friday that the federal government identifies new national single framework rules for the fight against Covid by 25 November. To put it in football terms, they showed the red card to Jens Spahn while he is already going down to the locker room. And even though many in August had already asked him to give up extending the emergency legislation, they all see that in reality the infection rates are always high. Are needed precautionary mechanisms to defend the population from the pandemic that the Länder can then organize individually, each according to developments. “It would lead to a refusal if instead each Land were to define them for itself”, the outgoing governor of North Rhine Westphalia told the press today. Armin Laschet (CDU). He was echoed by the mayor and governor of the Land of Berlin Michael Müller (Spd), also at the end of his post and a simple parliamentary future, explaining that the current emergency pandemic framework should not necessarily be postponed, but a transitional rule or a decision on a package of specific measures with national validity that is decided before chaos arises.

The progression of the pandemic is favored by the still unsatisfactory number of fully vaccinated equal to only 66.1%. In Germany there are no legal bases to impose one compulsory vaccination to access work, as has been done in Italy, and it is not yet clear whether having ordered the end of free tampons for all has stimulated the recalcitrant to get vaccinated. About 10% of ICU patients have been vaccinated, but these are mostly people with more than 60 years and also other pathologies. This reflects a delay in the administration of booster to refresh the antibody response especially in the elderly, but also in medical personnel.

Another aspect that was underlined by the Governors of the Länder on 22 October is the spread of false vaccination certificates. On this front too, a strong legislative response is desirable which, however, with the loss of full legitimacy of the action of the Chancellorship, Germany risks not knowing how to give itself.

The consultations for the formation of a new majority have just begun, after the approval of the twelve-page programmatic document referred to has already given account, and the protagonists have announced that predictably they will not conclude that at the end of November. It is by no means certain that the three parties (SPD, Greens and Liberals) will actually find an agreement. In fact, it is underlined by many that the programmatic document has so far declared ambitious proposals for national revitalization, but has not credibly indicated the financing and the positions of the parties are notoriously distant.

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