Will the rest of Germany follow Bavaria’s lead in tightening Covid-19 measures?

As Bavaria rolls out mandatory FFP2 masks in some public places, we look at whether the state is a blueprint for nationwide measures, and what else is expected.

Will the rest of Germany follow Bavaria's lead in tightening Covid-19 measures?
A woman wearing an FFP2 mask in Munich on Monday. Photo: DPA

From today, Bavaria requires residents to wear an FFP2 mask while travelling on public transport. And it's not the only area where the southern state is stricter than other places.

Now as Chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 state leaders get ready to meet on Tuesday, the question is: could the Bavarian regulations set a precedent nationwide?

What's on the agenda for Tuesday's meeting?

As we have been reporting, authorities are worried about the current lockdown measures not being effective enough.

There are also major concerns about the Covid-19 variants, such as the one that originated in the UK, spreading rapidly in Germany.

With this in mind, the federal-state talks have been brought forward from January 25th to January 19th to discuss how Germany can tackle the problems.

On the agenda is likely to be the possible introduction of curfews and compulsory FFP2 masks nationwide – both of which are already in place in Bavaria.

Other topics such as how to limit the number of people using public transport and how to get more people to work from home will also be discussed.

“There is a selection of possibilities on the table,” Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier of the Christian Democrats (CDU) told the Rheinische Post.

Altmaier also mentioned a possible working from home obligation and clearer contact restrictions.

Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz, of the Social Democrats (SPD) said he expected the federal and state governments to tighten restrictions and extend them by two weeks.

READ ALSO: Is Germany set to introduce tougher lockdown measures in January?

What exactly are the measures in Bavaria?

In Bavaria, the worst-hit coronavirus region in Germany, people now have to wear FFP2 protective masks on buses, trams, underground and suburban trains and in all shops.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Bavaria's new FFP2 mask obligation

A night-time curfew is also already in place in the state, which means people must stay inside from 9pm to 5am unless there is a valid reason to be outside during this time (such as for work or a medical emergency).

Before the consultations on Tuesday, Bavaria's state premier Markus Söder said he believed his own state is well positioned in the fight against the pandemic. “I don't think we need to tighten any more screws,” said the Christian Social Union (CSU) leader on broadcaster ARD on Sunday.

Instead, Söder called on the other states to implement the decisions taken at the federal-state conference more consistently.

“Half of the Länder (states) are doing something completely different,” he said. “So you also have to ask the question again and again: why do we decide on something when half of them do it differently?”

Söder called for consistent application and implementation of what is decided by Merkel and the 16 state leaders.

“I also don't think much of endless differences – because only what applies to everyone is understandable,” he said.

Söder sees the regulations in Bavaria as a kind of blueprint for federal regulations.

According to Business Insider, the chancellor's office wants to introduce a nationwide uniform night-time curfew, as already exists in France or other neighbouring countries. However, a majority of federal states would have to agree to that.

Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz told German daily Bild: : “Further measures must be taken.” (…). “I assume that this could be as little as 14 days added to that.” The Vice-Chancellor did not want to rule out the possibility of curfews: “I think that's a possible measure, but not the very first one.”

READ ALSO: German Covid-19 cases top 2 million as Merkel urges 'significantly tougher' measures

What are others saying?

Social Democrat (SPD) health politician Karl Lauterbach advocated a hard, three-week lockdown. The spread of the mutation in Germany must be prevented at all costs, he wrote on Twitter early on Monday morning.

Otherwise, the mutation will spread “faster than we can vaccinate”. In his view, curfews after 8pm for three weeks are justifiable. For public transport, he argues for caps on the number of people who can travel at one time, and mandatory FFP2 masks.

On Monday, the leaders of the federal and state governments will be informed by leading scientists, such as Christian Drosten and the Robert Koch Institute, on what the situation currently is in Germany, and how fast the variants are spreading.

The meeting on Tuesday is expected to take place at 2pm.

However, there is hope ahead. Vaccinations are continuing in Germany, with more than a million people receiving their first jab so far.

Virologist Marylyn Addo, head of the Infectiology Section of the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), told FAZ that she expects the pandemic to ease considerably from spring onwards and in the summer “because of the warmer weather and the higher vaccination rate”.

Member comments

  1. FFP2 Masks are not going to help when people are still getting together in each others house & appartments, & having parties. And any mask is not going to help people leaving a Supermarket & immediately getting on their phone. I really doubt that many people are properly cleaning their phones when they get home. They wash their hands, then they pick up the phone & off goes the virus.

  2. Of course this will be the model for the rest of the country, because the Health Minister has shares in the company that makes these masks. Criminals should be tried & brought to justice.

  3. The holes in a mask is measured in microns & a virus is measured in nanometers.
    A micrometer (also called a micron) is 1000 times smaller than a millimeter. … Nanometer A nanometer is 1000 times smaller than a micrometer. 1 micrometer (μm) = 1000 nanometers.
    How in the hell does a mask protect against that! Start asking questions, dont just blindly accept what these clown politicians are saying. They will be the destruction of us all.

  4. Adrian, even the most basic Google search answers your question about the virus size vs mask holes. How about you do that before posting uninformed crap online?

  5. That was the top google search. Because I know that sheeple like you only do basic research & accept what your masters tell you to think.
    How about thinking for yourself instead of getting all your online information from the people who want to control you!

  6. Read it for yourself. The manufacturer admits it itself.
    “FFP2 as per EN 149 (US NIOSH N95 equivalent) that have Particle Filtration Efficiency ≥ 94% for Most Penetrating Particles Size (MPPS) of 0.3 micron
    And this top google search states;
    Upon analysis of negative-stained SARS-CoV-2 articles by electron microscopy, researchers have determined the diameter of this virus to range between 60 nanometers (nm) to a maximum diameter of 140 nanometers (nm).
    Feel free to check the source.

  7. We never hear any other information from medical experts who question all these measures and also have doubts about a vaccine that has not been properly tested. Its all one sided 24/7 from the MSM. Gates and his cronies must be loving it. Who is going to make huge amounts of money out of all this.

  8. The lockdowns haven’t stopped the number if infections from rising. So let’s have some more lockdowns. And, let’s make them more restrictive because the vulnerable go out after 9pm and the virus is more aggressive at night… How insane.

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Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

German health ministers say that tougher Covid restrictions should come back into force if a serious wave emerges in autumn.

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

Following a video meeting on Monday, the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states said tougher restrictions should be imposed again if they are needed. 

“The corona pandemic is not over yet – we must not be deceived by the current declining incidences,” said Saxony-Anhalt’s health minister Petra Grimm-Benne, of the Social Democrats, who currently chairs the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK).

According to the GMK, new virus variants are expected to appear in autumn and winter. Over the weekend, federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also warned that the more dangerous Delta variant could return to Germany. “That is why the federal Ministry of Health should draw up a master plan to combat the corona pandemic as soon as possible and coordinate it with the states,” Grimm-Benne said.

Preparations should also include an amendment of the Infection Protection Act, ministers urged. They want to see the states given powers to react to the infection situation in autumn and winter. They called on the government to initiate the legislative process in a timely manner, and get the states actively involved.

The current Infection Protection Act expires on September 23rd this year. Germany has loosened much of its Covid restrictions in the last months, however, face masks are still compulsory on public transport as well as on planes. 

READ ALSO: Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

The health ministers said that from autumn onwards, it should be possible for states to make masks compulsory indoors if the regional infection situation calls for it. Previously, wearing a Covid mask was obligatory in Germany when shopping and in restaurants and bars when not sitting at a table. 

Furthermore, the so-called 3G rule for accessing some venues and facilities – where people have to present proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test – should be implemented again if needed, as well as other infection protection rules, the ministers said. 

Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek, of the CSU, welcomed the ministers’ unanimous call for a revision of the Infection Protection Act. “The states must be able to take all necessary infection protection measures quickly, effectively, and with legal certainty,” he said.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) warned that no one should “lull themselves into a false sense of security”.

“We must now prepare for the colder season and use the time to be able to answer important questions about the immunity of the population or the mechanisms of infection chains,” he said.

On Tuesday, Germany reported 86,253 Covid infections within the latest 24 hour period, as well as 215 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence stood at 437.6 infections per 100,000 people. However, experts believe there could be twice as many infections because lots of cases go unreported. 

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Covid pandemic in Germany right now