In Germany, Corona Limps On
The Bundestag passes a new Infection Protection Act.
As I wrote a few weeks ago, the legal basis for our current regime of unnecessary restrictions and interference in the everyday lives of German citizens expires after tomorrow, but Corona cannot be allowed to end in Germany. The past few weeks have seen fraught negotiations within the coalition government to draft a new Infection Protection Act and continue the circus.
Today, after acrimonious debate, the Bundestag voted in the new legislation. It provides two tiers of ongoing Corona regulation:
1) Automatically and at all times, “basic protection” measures will be available to the federal states. These allow the state governments to impose mask mandates upon local transit and healthcare facilities, and to impose testing requirements on healthcare facilities and schools. Of course, they will all do so. Mask mandates will also continue in long-distance trains and in aeroplanes.
2) State governments will be allowed to impose additional restrictions, including vaccination and testing requirements for restaurants and public events, in the case of so-called “hotspots.” Anytime you encounter English vocabulary in German law, it is a sign of bad things. A vote of the state parliament is necessary to declare a hotspot and these additional restrictions.
The federal states are allowed a transitional period to continue current rules, but this ends on 2 April.
The press is starting to fill with vile articles about the “freedoms” that will be returning to us. The thing is, that these are not freedoms anymore. They have become temporary, seasonal privileges, which can be removed anytime political pressure builds on the state parliaments. A softening of the rules makes things more comfortable in the shorter term, but it extends the political half-life of the Corona regime substantially.
Despite all the crazy discussion in the press and from individual politicians, vaccine mandates appear to be dead in Germany; only about a third of the Bundestag support a universal mandate for adults.
That’s not as good as it sounds: A lot of other members of parliament want mandate-adjacent requirements that are also bad. Andrew Ullmann, from the FDP, has gained some support for his scheme of mandatory vaccine information sessions rather than mandatory vaccination. I agree that forced lectures from ignorant low-level bureaucrats are preferable to forced medical procedures, but the whole scheme also makes me find Andrew Ullmann even more loathsome than I did before.
In case you thought Ullmann was just trying to reach a compromise to ward off the vaccinators, he’s also open to mandates for the 50+ crowd, so he’s not your friend.
Meanwhile, the CDU (and CSU), who are not in government, propose setting up a creepy “vaccination register” so the vaccinators know who to pressure. They want vaccine mandates maybe possibly for certain at-risk groups and for certain professions.
Of 736 Bundestag members, a mere 50 support a resolution against mandatory vaccination, primarily from the FDP and the AfD.