The considerations about the end of the epidemic situation in Germany arouse concerns in some federal states about the uniformity of corona measures. Several state governments therefore continue to demand joint solutions.

Several state governments are in favor of coordinating the corona containment measures as nationwide as possible even after the so-called epidemic situation has expired. Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Thuringia continue to demand uniform nationwide solutions in the fight against Corona. “Nobody wants that after the end of the epidemic situation in Germany there will be a patchwork of dealing with the pandemic,” said Rhineland-Palatinate health minister Clemens Hoch to the newspapers of the editorial network Germany (RND).

A lifting of all containment measures in November was “not realistic,” added Hoch. He would like the federal government to have an “orderly, uniform transitional arrangement”.

On Monday, Federal Health Minister Spahn spoke out in favor of letting the “epidemic situation of national scope” to contain the coronavirus expire at the end of November. The corona emergency has been in place since March 2020 and was last extended to November 24, 2021. It is the basis for regulations and central corona measures in Germany. According to information from “Bild”, Spahn pointed out, among other things, that the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) classifies the risk for vaccinated people as moderate.

“Not to be equated with the end of the pandemic”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Health in North Rhine-Westphalia told the RND that “in any case a nationwide uniform solution” was necessary in order to enable the states to continue to take targeted measures. From the responsible Ministry of Social Affairs in Saxony it is said that the step to end the epidemic situation appears “premature” with a view to the infection process and the number of Covid patients in the Saxon hospitals. Now the health ministers would have to “find a responsible solution”.

Heike Werner, Health Minister of Thuringia, told the RND that Jens Spahn had “rightly pointed out that a formal end to the epidemic situation is not to be equated with an end to the pandemic” and, in view of the “sharply increasing number of infections” in Thuringia, called for the continuation of measures, “at best nationwide”.

Approval from medical representatives

Spahn’s approach had met with a divided response. Medical representatives such as the head of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, Andreas Gassen, or the President of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, welcomed the proposal. Gassen called it “logical”. From the end of November, the state corona rules could be dropped. “A lead time of six to seven weeks is necessary so that more people can be vaccinated, said Gassen.” And I think they will do that in view of the relaxation of measures. “So ‘Freedom Day’ is getting closer and closer.”

Reinhardt pointed out that most of the people in the particularly vulnerable population groups had been vaccinated and the situation in the hospitals was stable. He thinks it is right “that we are now having a debate about when and how we can end the restrictions on public life,” he told the newspaper “Neue Westfälische”. “Even if the number of corona infections will increase in autumn and winter, there is currently no need to panic,” said Reinhardt with conviction.

Criticism from patient advocates

However, criticism came from patient advocates. The board of directors of the German Foundation for Patient Protection, Eugen Brysch, called it “dangerous to end the epidemic situation solely on the basis of questionable political calculations.” After all, the pandemic is not over, he told the dpa news agency. Currently more than 80-year-old corona infected people are being treated in the hospital than a year ago, although most of the people in this age group have been vaccinated.

The SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach described Spahn’s announcement as a “wrong signal”. “It sounds like ‘Freedom Day’ by the minister,” he wrote on Twitter. Winter is underestimated as a Covid problem, said Lauterbach. More success in vaccination, a falling incidence and protection of children are needed. “If it is successful, the Bundestag can end the epidemic.”