KAssociations of Indian doctors, politicians, lawyers and youth are highly critical of the new Infection Protection Act. They fear negative consequences for children and young people, as well as continued unequal treatment due to the possibility of federal states requiring masks and coronavirus tests. Burkard Roddick, general secretary of the German Society of Pediatrics and Adolescents (DGKJ), said the conditions under which federal states are allowed to impose measures in schools and day care centers from October 1 are “poorly formulated”. It was the task of the federal government, to set clearly defined standards for mandatory testing and masks in schools and day care centers,” Roddick criticized in an interview with WELT.
The Traffic Light Government’s Infection Protection Act, which the Bundestag has yet to approve, creates a framework for new coronavirus measures that also affect children and young people. According to the draft law, federal states may impose the mask requirement in schools from the fifth grade. The prerequisite, therefore, is that this is necessary “to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 and to maintain regular teaching in the classroom”. Corona tests can also be ordered in day care centers and all school classes if they are also necessary “to ensure the functioning of the health system or other critical infrastructure.” Regarding the definition, experts such as DGKJ Secretary General Roddick are now criticizing it as unclear – and therefore potentially far-reaching.
It no longer had to be about preventing “infection at any cost,” Roddick said. Therefore, tests are only useful and necessary in the case of symptoms. There is also a need for a “strong reason” to compel children to wear restrictive masks and thus to protect others: “Face masks are not a convenience.” Roddick warned of the unequal treatment of children and young adults compared to adults under the law.
The German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (DGPI) also expressed concerns. At the request of WELT, President Tobias Tenenbaum demanded that “proportionality, meaning and evidence” should be central to actions: “Restrictive measures specifically for children cannot be justified if they are not equally mandatory in the general population.”
The Professional Association of Pediatricians (BVKJ) fears the dire consequences of continuing tests for no reason. “Unwarranted quarantine orders for false positive tests are the results that lead to more social isolation and less learning time,” BVKJ spokesperson Jacob Musk told WELT. To be recognized long ago, his mask was criticized. In addition to closing schools, restrictions on cultural and sports facilities must also be excluded: “We continue to monitor survey procedures and sanitary measures in these facilities that are no longer scientifically justified.”
Ethics Board Member Talks About “Special Victims”
Law professor and ethics board member Frauke Rostalski said in a statement to WELT that children and young people will be asked to make other “special sacrifices”. Masks are expected to become a “universal reality” for students from grade five onwards: “I do not suppose that justifying endangering face-to-face teaching would be a serious obstacle to practice.”
Even the assessment report used by the federal government rated masks only as an effective measure to combat the virus if they are worn correctly: “For children and young adults who are supposed to spend the whole day at school with a mask, in my opinion this is what I think,” Rostalsky said.
Allowing schools and day care centers to impose testing obligations again does not mean the normal, because due to existing isolation obligations, there cannot be a regular process: “As a result of the expected mass testing, the lawyer warned that there would of course be educational failures and other losses of participation opportunities. “. She considers the bill fundamentally questionable: “As a society, we must ask ourselves whether the measures are still justified at all.”
The central problem is that defining the concrete risk of “overburdening the health system” leaves many questions unanswered. The importance of the number of cases makes the reference point for each procedure ambiguous: “We are in danger of not getting out of a whirlpool,” Rostalsky criticized. This is also evidenced by the obligation to wear a mask in long-distance transport and on aircraft, which applies without specifying any specific risk to the health system whatsoever: “For reasons of proportionality, this is more questionable than”.
Criticism from the Green Party too
Criticism of the law’s unclear requirements also comes from representatives of the ruling parties. When asked by WELT, Greens deputy and economic policy spokesperson for the Bundestag parliamentary group, Dieter Janicek, spoke out against the “restrictive measures” for children set out in the law: “Neither mask requirements nor random testing are still appropriate at this late stage of the epidemic.” Quarantine regulations must also be readjusted. “Only if there is a real and verifiable threat to overburden the health system at the site, should actions ever be possible,” Janicek said.
On the other hand, the Chairman of the Education Ministers Conference praised the fact that school closures due to the pandemic are now exempt from the law. Karen Brin, head of the KMT, told Funk newspapers that schools should be affected as little as possible. Measures will only be used if they are locally required or if teaching is not otherwise feasible.
Several members of the FDP parliamentary bloc have expressed fundamental concerns about the traffic lights project. On Wednesday, Representative Frank Scheffler criticized federal states for being given “too many opportunities to interfere with personal rights and liberties.” The Bundestag can only watch. Parts of the opposition also expressed dissatisfaction and demanded a precise definition in law of when federal states could impose measures. The legal policy spokesman for the Christian Social Union in the Bundestag, Volker Ulrich, complained about the lack of clarity “when states will be allowed to set stricter rules”. Law “unable to agree” CDU General Secretary Mario Zaga also criticized that the traffic light gave many decisions to the federal states. He believes that “the procedures go beyond what the infection process requires.”
Many federal states, as well as hospital representatives and doctors, have already called for nationwide threshold values in advance, on the basis of which preventive measures can be imposed. This included, for example, the number of free intensive care beds. Responsible ministers Karl Lauterbach (SPD) and Marco Buchmann (FDP) leave this decision to the federal states. The law has yet to be approved by the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. In the past, it has been shown that in many countries both the incidence and hospitalization rate were incorrectly calculated or reported in an unclear manner. On this basis, restrictions on fundamental rights were established.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published without quotes from Frauke Rostalski. She continued her remarks Thursday afternoon.
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