Under the pressure of a corona situation that is becoming more and more dramatic every day, the federal and state governments have decided to meet again earlier than originally planned.

On Monday it was reported in government circles that Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), the Vice Chancellor and presumed successor of Merkel, Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD), the Prime Ministers of the federal states and some other Federal Ministers want to meet for an information meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

Peter Carstens

Political correspondent in Berlin

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Eckart Lohse

Head of the parliamentary editorial office in Berlin.

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Markus Wehner

Political correspondent in Berlin.

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The conversation was not referred to as the Prime Minister's Conference (MPK), as is usually the case.

Apparently, the regular MPK meeting on December 9th will remain.

At the most recent prime ministerial conference last week, a review of all measures to contain the corona pandemic had been agreed for this date.

However, the situation is now so serious that the federal and state governments are convinced that they have to act sooner.

It is unclear whether and which measures beyond the previous measures will be decided on Tuesday, as it was said from the country circles. In any case, the group wants to discuss how to react to the Federal Constitutional Court's decision on the so-called federal emergency brake, which is expected on Tuesday. The federal emergency brake came into force in April 2021 with the fourth Civil Protection Act. It regulated the measures nationwide until June if the seven-day incidence of corona infections exceeded certain thresholds in individual districts. Contact restrictions or curfews were possible.

The Bund-Länder-Round will also talk about the work of the Corona crisis team in the Federal Chancellery, which the traffic light parties had decided to set up. Carsten Breuer, Major General of the Bundeswehr, who has been coordinating and leading the deployment of soldiers in Corona aid for a year and a half, will head the crisis team. According to information from government circles, Breuer moved into his desk in the Chancellery on Monday. He already has a small staff there; we're talking about a handful of employees. Merkel has allowed the post in the Chancellery to be filled quickly. She wanted to confirm that her executive government wants to act together with the upcoming government under Scholz to take action against the fourth wave of the corona pandemic.

In the coming weeks, Breuer and the crisis team should above all ensure that at least 20 million vaccinations against the coronavirus are logistically managed by the end of the year. It is a matter of setting up further vaccination centers quickly, planning the precise provision of the vaccine and improving the scheduling required for this. In order to cope with this task, the crisis team should coordinate on a daily basis. However, further decisions of acute crisis management, such as contact restrictions, should not be made by the crisis team.

Major General Breuer is considered particularly suitable for the task. In addition to being the inspector of the armed forces base, he helped and helps, as the officer responsible for all administrative assistance of the Bundeswehr, to organize several thousand deployments of soldiers over the past few months. In the current situation, the Bundeswehr is under his command again in more than 300 local missions, mainly in Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia, where the number of people vaccinated is particularly low and the number of seriously ill people is particularly high.

At the head of a crisis team in the Chancellery, Breuer is the first general in decades to be entrusted with such a task. In several European countries people trusted the military and above all organizational expertise of high officers early on and achieved considerable success in Italy and Portugal, for example. In the Chancellery, where the skepticism against military matters has been particularly pronounced in recent years, such considerations, if they existed, have so far always been rejected. Breuer, who will be 57 years old these days, has many years of experience as a troop leader, but also in the Ministry of Defense.

However, there were already demands on Monday regarding the composition of the crisis team. The new President of the German Association of Cities, Markus Lewe (CDU), is urging that the municipalities should also be involved in the crisis team. "The expertise of the cities is indispensable for this, because this is where the work is done and the Corona measures implemented on site," said the Lord Mayor of Münster to the newspapers of the Funke media group. It therefore makes sense to set up the crisis team on a broad basis. The time of federal-state summits should "now be over," said Lewe.

The Vice President of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Robert Schlögl, welcomed the establishment of the crisis team.

With him, the "cacophony" in dealing with the virus could be ended, said Schlögl on the rbb's Inforadio.

In view of the rapidly increasing number of infections, the Leopoldina had recommended extensive contact restrictions.

In addition to the crisis team, there will be a new committee of virologists, epidemiologists and other experts, which will work out recommendations for politics by mutual agreement.

It is supposed to meet once a week.

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