The autumn holidays are just around the corner – and the number of corona cases is rising. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), “a further increase in transmissions can be observed in the population in Germany”. On Friday, 2673 new infections were registered, a new high since April.
The RKI has now identified seven areas in which there are more than 50 cases / 100,000 inhabitants within seven days (7-day incidence), a dangerously high number of new cases. Four of them are in the capital Berlin: Tempelhof-Schöneberg, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Berlin Mitte and Neukölln. In addition to the Berlin districts, the cities of Hamm, Remscheid, both in North Rhine-Westphalia, and the district of Vechta in Lower Saxony have been identified as risk areas by the RKI.
The capital as a risk area? That could now become a problem. Because of the current pandemic, many Germans have decided not to take an autumn vacation abroad – and instead booked in Germany.
However, in view of the new figures, some federal states have already reacted. If you come from Berlin and want to go on vacation somewhere else, you now have to expect corona chaos and, in the worst case, that your vacation will be canceled. It could also affect those who live elsewhere – and want to vacation in Berlin. You may face problems on your way back home.
In Schleswig-Holstein, travelers from risk areas must immediately go to a 14-day quarantine or submit two negative corona tests within five days – and that now includes Berlin. The state is no exception. Even Green boss Robert Habeck, who commutes regularly between Berlin and Flensburg, will have to adhere to the restrictions.
In Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt there is a “ban on accommodation” for people entering from risk areas. So driving through is possible for those affected, but not overnight. This does not apply to people who can present a negative corona test. This must not be more than 48 hours old.
Other federal states such as Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania or Brandenburg only want to intervene when all of Berlin exceeds the limit of 50 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. Baden-Württemberg and Bremen have not announced any restrictions. And still others have not yet positioned themselves.
How does it still make sense to impose restrictions on boroughs and counties?
For a long time there were only individual corona hotspots in Germany, with overall low infection numbers. But how sensible is it, given the overall steady and meanwhile rapidly increasing numbers, to impose restrictions like these on individual districts and counties?
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) is skeptical about the division into districts in the case of Berlin. “This is a big, dynamic city here. We are all in doubt every day in different districts. I very much hope that there will be an approach that relates to the whole of Berlin, ”said Spahn.
And SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach goes one step further. He assumes that “very soon” the number of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week will be exceeded in many regions in Germany, as he said in an interview with the “Tagesspiegel”. “The existing quarantine regulations will then hardly make sense, because virtually all of Germany will be a risk area. Whether you travel or not will hardly make a difference, ”says Lauterbach.
Therefore, further measures against the spread of the virus are much more important. He mentions a nationwide ban on private celebrations with more than 25 people and a mask requirement for public places.
44 other districts also have increased numbers
This thesis is supported by the fact that the seven districts and cities identified by the RKI are only the tip of the iceberg. “The 7-day incidence in the federal states of Berlin and Bremen is very clear, in Hamburg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse well above the national average,” writes the RKI. In another 44 districts, the 7-day incidence was over 25 cases per 100,000 population.
In addition to Berlin, Frankfurt in particular is heading for the next warning level in the number of corona infections: With 48.5 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days, the city is just before the 4th warning level of the country’s prevention and escalation concept.
And last but not least, Germany is surrounded by neighboring countries, all of which are themselves considered risk areas. Because currently Poland is the only country that directly borders Germany that has not yet been declared a risk area by the RKI – all other of the nine neighboring countries are either completely or partially considered a risk area. This increases the list of countries in Europe that count as risk areas to 16 out of 27. A current list of which regions / countries are affected can be found on the RKI website.
So it may only be a matter of time before we no longer have to worry about designating individual districts or rural districts as risk areas – but instead declare the whole of Germany as one.