Altmaier and Söder for tougher penalties for violations

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Thousands close to each other on the street, carefree party on vacation or at the weekend – some take the risk of infection in the pandemic lightly. What to do? Politicians are demanding more toughness.

Berlin (dpa) – Out of concern for a renewed rise in the number of corona infections, Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) and Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) plead for tougher penalties for violations of the rules.

“Anyone who deliberately endangers others must expect that this will have serious consequences for them,” said Altmaier of the German Press Agency in Berlin. “We must not jeopardize the recovery that is just beginning by accepting a further increase in infections.”

Söder said in the “Bild am Sonntag” that the train had to ensure that passengers adhered to the mask requirement. «Anyone who violates this must bear the consequences. I am here for higher fines and asked Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer to talk to the railroad about it. »

Rail boss Richard Lutz, on the other hand, recently told the newspapers of the Funke media group that insight and communication are used instead of fines. “Belief and appeal to responsibility come before punishment.” If this does not work, the federal police get unreasonable passengers from the train at the next train station, but this rarely happens. A rail spokeswoman also told dpa on Sunday: “We reserve the right to exclude travelers from transport in individual cases.”

Unfortunately, many people have become more careless in dealing with the virus, Söder continues. “This also includes the extreme looseners and conspiracy theorists who wanted to abolish all measures as quickly as possible.” Anyone who underestimated the corona virus had been refuted. The second wave is already there in practice: “It sneaks through Germany.” It is therefore important to be even more attentive and to react quickly and consistently. “We have to expect Corona to come back to us with full force.”

Despite rising numbers of infections, thousands of people in Berlin demonstrated on Saturday against state measures to contain the pandemic. According to police estimates, up to 17,000 people joined a demonstration, around 20,000 subsequently took part in a rally. The demonstrators called for an end to all restrictions.

Since the hygiene rules were not observed during the demonstration, the police filed a criminal complaint against the head of the assembly. The declared the demonstration train ended in the afternoon. Because many demonstrators neither adhered to the distance rules nor wore masks at the subsequent rally, the police began to dissolve the gathering in the early evening.

The vast majority of the population continues to behave extremely responsibly, praised Altmaier, who spoke before the weekend. “What we are currently experiencing in terms of risk increases is largely due to the careless and sometimes irresponsible misconduct of a very small number of people,” said the minister. “We have to prevent this more effectively than before and act effectively in cases where there are infections and outbreaks: This includes fines and penalties if it is a matter of intent or gross negligence.”

There are different catalogs of fines for violations of corona rules in the federal states, for example if the minimum distance is not observed, no mouth-nose protection is worn in local public transport or “corona parties” are celebrated.

“I very much advocate that you can only get on buses and trains if you can show a protective mask, or acquire one when you get in, provided you have forgotten your own,” said Altmaier. «Anyone who drives a bus or train without a mask is not endangering themselves, but others. If a party in a narrow cellar pub becomes a super-spreading event in violation of all clearance and hygiene regulations, this is not trivial and must be punished if necessary. » A super-spreading event is an event in which a particularly large number of people become infected.

The board of the German Foundation for Patient Protection, Eugen Brysch, initially called for the consistent implementation of existing rules. Local authorities, state and federal police looked away so that the situation did not escalate. “This creates legal-free spaces and the spread of the virus is picking up speed. This is extremely dangerous for the high-risk group, »warned Brysch.

Shortly before the end of the holiday, Federal Minister of Education Anja Karliczek (CDU) pleaded for a mask requirement in school buildings in six federal states. It is understandable, “if countries want to forego distance rules in schools because the spatial conditions would otherwise only allow classroom instruction to a limited extent,” she told Welt am Sonntag. “Nevertheless, classroom instruction will only work if further regulations on hygiene, wearing protective masks and keeping clear in the schoolyard and in the hallways are strictly observed.”

Several federal states such as Berlin, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg have already announced that they will be required to wear a mask in school buildings to combat the corona virus. However, it should not apply in class.

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