Corona lockdown: the countries’ step-by-step plans are complex and fragmented

Italy has been opening a traffic light system for several weeks. Here in Padua, northern Italy, the traffic light is yellow: Restaurants are allowed to open until 6 p.m. Such systems are also being discussed in Germany.

picture alliance / NurPhoto | Roberto Silvino

Daniel Günther (CDU), Stephan Weil (SPD) and Bodo Ramelow (Left) have one thing in common despite their different party books: In the past few days, the three prime ministers have each presented specific plans with which they want to gradually lead their federal states out of lockdown. Could parts of these plans become a blueprint for a nationwide opening strategy?

Two days before the federal-state conference on Wednesday, it is only clear that the lockdown should be extended – according to information from by two weeks until the end of February. The main problem with the step-by-step plans: They are fragmented, complicated and several pages long. The plans are based, among other things, on the 7-day incidence value per 100,000 inhabitants. So if you want to find out about the status of openings in your city or district, you have to calculate or read the incidence value and then rummage through the tables.

Five steps for Thuringia

The latest advance for a step-by-step plan comes from Bodo Ramelow from Thuringia. Together with the government coalition there, according to information from the “Spiegel”, the Prime Minister divided the infection rate into five levels: from the so-called “low infection rate” to an incidence of 5 (there is no district today) to “escalating Infection events ”from incidences of 180 (currently in 14 German districts).

According to the Thuringian Plan, daycare centers and schools are to be closed when the nationwide incidence value exceeds 85. From an incidence of 40, the regional infection rate should be considered. With an incidence of up to 30, according to “Spiegel”, limited regular operation should be possible.

Up to an incidence of 85, retailers are likely to open to a limited number of customers. If the incidence is below 60 a.m. to 9 p.m., if the incidence is below 30 p.m. to 11 p.m. and if the incidence is below 5, even without curfew.

Lower Saxony plan less strict

The plan of the state government of Lower Saxony assumes an incidence below 10 at its lowest level; at the highest level of a value over 200. In Lower Saxony, the daycare centers would only be closed if the incidence was over 100; schools are only complete from an incidence of over 200. Until then, small-scale scenarios apply depending on the local infection rate.

In terms of gastronomy, the Lower Saxony plan would not be quite as strict as the one from Thuringia: restaurants should therefore open until 11 p.m. if the incidence is below 50; under 30 even without curfew. Even with an incidence value below 10, clubs and discos would still have a difficult time: They would then be allowed to open, but the number of people would be limited to one person per ten square meters.

Nobody gives a calendar classification

The concept of Prime Minister Daniel Günther from Schleswig-Holstein envisages an extensive opening of schools, universities, bars, pubs and cultural institutions with an incidence below 35. If the incidence is below 50, retail stores, restaurants, daycare centers and schools are likely to open up to the sixth grade.

Whichever of the suggestions you look at, the result is always the same: It’s complicated. With the step-by-step plans, politicians are trying to answer calls for an open perspective. But because the number of new infections has only recently fallen and at the same time the mutation is still an unpredictable variable, politics does not give a calendar classification, but works with the complicated if-then step-by-step plans. This Monday there should be consultations between the heads of the Senate and State Chancelleries. The final decision on whether one of the states’ opening plans will make a nationwide blueprint will not be made until Wednesday.


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