Local news translated – Monday, March 28

Host Nation Update, Mar 28, 2022

End of COVID pandemic? SPD and FDP parties want special session of the state parliament       

State Parliament President Muhterem Aras has rejected the demand of the SPD and FDP for a special session of parliament on the proposal of Social Minister Manne Lucha (Greens) to end the pandemic Corona situation. Aras justified her “no” in a letter to SPD faction leader Andreas Stoch and his FDP colleague Hans-Ulrich Rülke on Monday simply by saying that their factions did not have enough votes to push through such a session. The opposition from SPD and FDP alone does not have enough votes to enforce a special session. SPD parliamentary group leader Andreas Stoch and his FDP colleague Hans-Ulrich Rülke had asked Aras on Friday to call a special session for this week so that citizens could get clarity on the course of the coalition of the green-black government. Lucha had sent a letter to Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) calling for the switch from the pandemic to the endemic phase at the end of April. This would have had far-reaching consequences. The coronavirus would then be classified like the flu virus, there would be practically no more tests and no more mandatory quarantine. After Minister President Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) distanced himself from Lucha, the minister rowed back. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Mar 28)

Baden-Württemberg – State government to decide on COVID management after April 2   

The state government of the Greens and CDU in Baden-Württemberg wants to decide early this week on COVID management after April 2. According to a government spokesman they are discussing this Monday how to proceed after next Saturday. The background to this is the new federal legal basis, which the the coalition of the federal government had recently put into effect under open protest from the states. Until April 2, all states can still take advantage of a transition period in which previous rules remain in place. After that, virtually all protective measures such as mandatory masks and access restrictions are expected to be dropped. The state government also wants to wait for the special meeting of federal and state health ministers this Monday before making the decision. State Minister Manne Lucha (Greens), together with counterparts from four other states, had demanded a four-week extension of the stricter corona measures still possible until April 2. In addition to Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saarland and Hesse also called on the federal government to clarify the outstanding issues regarding the implementation of the hotspot regulation in a timely manner. A uniform procedure must be ensured throughout Germany, they said.

The state government is particularly concerned with the hotspot regulation in the federal law. It has been said on several occasions that this is not legally enforceable. Now a legal examination of the Ministry of Social Affairs has shown that a regional hotspot regulation is also out of the question. The requirements, which are formulated in the new infection protection law of the federation, are not fulfilled in the southwest. Unlike in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, where this regulation is to take effect after April 2, the clinic density in the southwest is much higher. That is, in the event of an overload of hospitals in a city or county, patients could be transferred relatively easily to neighboring counties. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Mar 28)

No regional COVID hotspots in B-W

In Baden-Württemberg, regional Corona hotspots with stricter requirements are out of the question, according to a legal review by the Ministry of Social Affairs. The conditions, which are stipulated in the new infection protection law of the federation, would not be fulfilled in the southwest.

Unlike in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, for example, where this regulation is to take effect after April 2, the clinic density in the southwest is much higher. That is, for the case of an overloading of the hospitals in a city or district patients could be transferred without any problems into neighboring districts. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Mar 27)

Non-COVID related news:

Baden-Württemberg – Refugee numbers continue to rise

With each day of war in Ukraine, the number of people seeking refuge in Baden-Württemberg also increases. According to figures released by the Migration Ministry on Monday, some 9500 Ukrainians have arrived at the state’s initial reception facilities since the Russian attacks began more than a month ago. Nearly 7400 people are currently housed there, including 3707 Ukrainians (as of March 27).

Since war refugees from Ukraine can enter the country without a visa, the actual number in the southwest is likely to be significantly higher. The municipalities had previously assumed that about 12,000 people had either been accommodated privately or in initial accommodation in cities and municipalities. It is also expected that the number of refugees will increase significantly in view of the ongoing Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. The federal police have so far identified 272,338 war refugees from Ukraine. However, there are no fixed border controls, so the number is likely to be significantly higher, according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior in Berlin. According to the Border Guard, more than 2.3 million refugees from the neighboring country have arrived in Poland so far. There is currently no official information on how many of the war refugees have remained in Poland and how many have already moved on to other EU states. Ukraine – the largest country in Europe in terms of area – had more than 44 million inhabitants before the Russian attack began. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Mar 28)