In the coalition dispute over possibly inferior corona protective masks, CDU boss Armin Laschet has taken Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) under protection. "In retrospect, all the clever ones come now," said Laschet on Saturday at a state representatives' meeting in Neumünster in Schleswig-Holstein. The market for masks was simply closed last spring. There have been calls for help from hospitals. The government had to react to the situation. "And that's why a lot of what the SPD is doing with Jens Spahn at the moment is just shabby."

The background to the debate, which is burdening the black-red coalition, is a report by Spiegel on how to deal with allegedly inferior corona masks ordered in China.

According to plans by the Ministry of Health, masks that have not been tested to high standards should go to facilities for people with disabilities or for the homeless.

After an intervention by the SPD-led Ministry of Labor, this was refrained from.

Spahn had rejected the allegations, and calls for resignation came from the top of the SPD.

"Extremely picky and strict"

Schleswig-Holstein withdrew 3.7 million masks received from the federal government last year. State Minister of Health Heiner Garg (FDP) justified this on Friday by saying that the country had been "extremely fussy and strict" when it came to the subject of masks. In total, the state received 4.3 million FFP2 masks from the federal government last year.

Previously, Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) had accused parts of the Union of a diversionary maneuver in the mask dispute. “You have to be careful not to cloud a factual debate. And I am already experiencing that some on the Union side are trying to explain the whole thing to a purely party-political dispute in order not to have to talk about the matter, "Heil told Der Spiegel magazine on Friday. "And there is an attempt to confuse the public with technical issues so that people no longer understand what it is really about."

There have been several attempts by the Federal Ministry of Health to “lower test standards in order to be able to bring masks procured elsewhere on the market during the distribution campaigns,” Heil emphasized again on Friday. “My experts in the ministry refused because, from our point of view, the safety of these masks could not be guaranteed. And we prevailed. ”With that, the debate was actually over for him. “But now there was coverage. And when the public discusses such a topic, it is the job of federal ministers to provide truthful information about processes. We did that as the Federal Ministry of Labor, ”said Heil.