Düsseldorf – In North Rhine-Westphalia, according to Prime Minister Armin Laschet (59, CDU), there is “no trend reversal yet, but a sign of hope” in the corona crisis. The seven-day average was 4219 infected people in North Rhine-Westphalia on Monday, Laschet said in the evening in Düsseldorf after a video conference by the federal and state governments on the corona crisis. “That is the lowest value since November 6th.”
However, the number of infections was still at a “very high basic level”. Nevertheless, the health system still has reserves, so it is not yet necessary to postpone operations, said Laschet.
A total of almost 900 Covid-19 patients in NRW were in the intensive care unit on Monday, 580 of them on ventilation. According to figures from the state government, 906 intensive care beds with ventilation options were still available.
To contain the corona pandemic, the federal and state governments are calling on citizens to once again significantly reduce their private contacts. Laschet also appealed to everyone to refrain from private parties, meetings with friends and acquaintances as well as leisure activities and instead stay at home if possible:
Avoid contacts. Stay at home. Make only the most necessary visits. We are only in the middle of November.
Meetings with friends and acquaintances should be limited to a fixed additional household, according to the decision of the federal and state governments.
The aim remains to stop the second wave of infections, avert a national emergency, but at the same time keep daycare centers, schools and business life as open as possible, Laschet affirmed. The question of whether lessons are given in the classroom or, better, digitally, should be decided flexibly – depending on the type of school, age groups and infection rates in the respective districts.
First of all, the federal and state governments drew an interim balance sheet at their conference. There was great agreement: “It is not yet the day of the final assessment whether the November measures are effective”.
Further answers would be given at the next federal and state conference on November 25th. Until then, NRW will, among other things, develop proposals on how to make progress with the digitization of the health authorities.
The warning app must also be discussed again. “From our point of view, data protection is an important basic right, but the protection of life through the Corona warning app is also a valuable asset,” Laschet emphasized. The state government will also submit proposals on how to achieve a balanced relationship.
The opposition leader in the NRW state parliament, Thomas Kutschaty, urged that decisions be made immediately. “Doing nothing is not an option,” criticized the SPD parliamentary group leader at the federal-state talks.
Laschet reported that last Sunday the state cabinet had already decided in a special meeting on economic aid, which would now be paid out very quickly to those who would have to suffer great losses as a result of the pandemic.
In addition, the cabinet discussed a vaccination strategy. “This is the greatest logistical task that a state government has ever had to deal with in the history of the state – namely to vaccinate 18 million people according to clear criteria, according to clear priorities and quickly.” The preparations for this were in full swing, the Prime Minister assured.
Laschet reported that the exponential growth in the number of infections has already broken in NRW. In the meantime there is “a slight downward movement” again. But it is still too early to say whether that will work.
On November 25th there should be further consultations and – if the number of infected and seriously ill people has not decreased significantly by then – there may also be further binding restrictions. Chancellor Angela Merkel (66, CDU) said in Berlin that the goal was to achieve more “predictability” for the citizens – even beyond the end of the year.
On Wednesday, the Bundestag and Bundesrat want to adopt changes to the Infection Protection Act. He expects more legal security in the event of encroachments on fundamental rights, said Laschet. The black and yellow state cabinet will decide this Tuesday how NRW votes in the Federal Council.