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Clear, uniform coronavirus rules, please!

August 27, 2020

Uncertainty surrounding coronavirus protective measures must end now. We need a clear plan for all of Germany, says DW Editor-in-Chief Manuela Kasper-Claridge.

A young couple kisses through face masks at the Frankfurt airport
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Probst

People often say Germans are disciplined and conscientious. They say that is why the country got through the first wave of the coronavirus in relatively good shape. But that was then.

Anyone who happens to be in Germany today experiences lack of discipline, uncertainty and even chaos when it comes to the political decisions being made here.

Arbitrary rules for masks, events

In Berlin, for instance, events with more than 500 participants are allowed, while in neighboring Brandenburg they are allowed with up to 1,000 people. Farther west, in Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, schools require protective face masks to be worn at all times — in class, in the hallway, on the schoolyard. But in Berlin things are much more relaxed and students need not wear masks in class. In all, the gamut of different measures smacks of arbitrariness.

So what is the decision-making basis for coronavirus protection measures? Does every politician now have his or her own experts? The whole scenario has led to confusion among the country's citizens. And now the number of coronavirus infections in Germany is on the rise again. Many of those now ill became infected while on summer vacation abroad. Thus, the question arises: Why was mandatory testing for those returning from high-risk areas only initiated after most had already returned?

DW Editor-in-Chief Manuela Kasper-Claridge
DW Editor-in-Chief Manuela Kasper-ClaridgeImage: DW/R. Oberhammer

And if I'm at the airport, what is the point of maintaining 1.5 meters (5 feet) of social distancing only to be cramped into a packed airplane for my journey? Why are the number of patrons inside a restaurant limited but not inside big supermarkets and shopping centers?

Uniform nationwide rules needed

All this mixed messaging on protective measures has led more and more people to simply ignore safety guidelines altogether. Now, people are partying as if the coronavirus was just a spook that came and went.

Things cannot go on like this. We need clear and uniform nationwide rules in Germany now. We need discipline and solidarity in society and politicians who do not use the crisis as a way to further their own careers but rather pull together as one — for the good of everyone.

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