Before April 20, according to the federal government, there should be no easing of the existing restrictions in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Chancellor-in-chief Helge Braun (CDU) told Tagesspiegel : "We are not talking about any relief until April 20". The measures remained in place until then. Older people would have to reckon with contact restrictions for much longer than younger people.

"One thing is common to all models, no matter how we choose: that the older and pre-ill people in our society need to be effectively protected from infection until there is a vaccine," said Braun. "Immediately after Easter we will be able to say what will generally happen after April 20th." In the course of the coming week, the Federal Government will talk to the Prime Minister about the ban on contact.

Braun sees the development of the rate of infection as a decision-making basis for easing the restrictions. "If we manage to slow the rate of infection so that we have ten, twelve or more days to double, then we know we're on the right track." Since he had the impression that the population adhered to the rules in an exemplary manner, he was convinced that "in a few days" the success of the measures could be seen.

Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) also thinks it is too early to talk about easing the measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic. No one can say today with a clear conscience that he knows how long this difficult time will last, she said in a podcast and asked for patience.

Coronavirus - Chancellor asks for patience with restrictions on going out The time has not yet come to talk about easing the restrictions on going out, says Angela Merkel. The Chancellor is in quarantine. © Photo: Reuters TV

SPD wants to think about exit scenario

Meanwhile, politicians of the SPD are demanding to think about an exit scenario. Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said the restrictions could not last forever. "All measures are taken to protect the lives and health of the people in our country. However, they must be limited to what is absolutely necessary, including in terms of time," Lambrecht told the Passauer Neue Presse. The restrictions had to be lifted as soon as this was responsible.

"If we maintain the contact restrictions for more than four weeks, we will reach a limit," said Thuringian Minister of the Interior, Georg Maier (SPD) the world. The psychological burden on the population would then be too great and acceptance would decline. For an exit scenario, "mass test and isolation of the sick" as in South Korea and Sweden must be "considered".

A tracking app had to be compatible with data protection

Chancellor Braun says he wants to use a mix of measures as practiced in South Korea. "On the one hand, they made the same contact restrictions as we are now practicing in Germany. They also used digital tracking, which you can almost automatically find out about if you have had contact with infected people." In addition, the country has a very broad approach to testing.

However, finding contacts more easily, for example using a special data app, must be compatible with data protection. "With us, this would certainly look very different from the contact tracking app in China."

Federal data protection officer Ulrich Kelber was open to the use of an anti-corona app on a voluntary basis. He was critical of a cell phone location via the radio cells again. The radio cells already had a radius of several hundred meters in cities and several kilometers in the countryside, the SPD politician told the newspapers of the Funke media group. "This is far too imprecise to allow any conclusions to be drawn about the whereabouts of infected people or their contact persons." If a project is unsuitable, "you no longer have to talk about possible encroachments on fundamental rights".

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) originally planned to allow the health authorities in an "epidemic situation of national scope" to identify contact persons for sick people using cell phone location data, thereby tracking their movement and contacting them in the event of a suspected case. After fierce criticism from the opposition, but also from the SPD, Spahn initially postponed these plans when the Infection Protection Act was changed.