The Bundestag and Bundesrat passed the controversial reform of the Infection Protection Act on Friday, despite some significant reservations.

Against the background of new highs in infections - the Robert Koch Institute reported the highest corona incidence of all time at 1706 on Friday morning - most protective measures are to be eliminated.

Some measures should only continue to apply in so-called hotspots if the respective federal state decides to do so.

Kim Bjorn Becker

Editor in Politics.

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The Federal Council voted in favor of the reform on Friday afternoon.

Previously, however, there had been some sharp criticism of the draft law in the state chamber.

Hesse's Prime Minister Volker Bouffier (CDU) sharply criticized the actions of the traffic light coalition in Berlin.

"The procedure is unspeakable and simply unworthy," said Bouffier. He complained that Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) publicly feared the worst and at the same time presented an easing law. "It undermines acceptance."

The federal government no longer wants to take responsibility "for anything" in the case of Corona. The new hotspot regulation also met with clear criticism. "It's a legal botch," said Bouffier.

Among other things, there are no clear criteria for defining a hotspot.

The Prime Minister of Thuringia, Bodo Ramelow (Die Linke), called wearing masks and keeping your distance “basics” that absolutely had to endure.

Ramelow reproached the federal government for giving the federal states far too little time to examine the draft law.

"I had from 8:22 a.m. to 10 a.m. to question my officers," Ramelow said.

“This is not participation.” The federal government “put the chair in front of the door” of the federal states in Corona policy.

Fighting off the pandemic is no longer a joint task of the federal and state governments.

"Much remains unclear and undetermined," criticized Stefanie Drese (SPD), Minister of Social Affairs in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

In addition, the hotspot regulation is impractical because the state parliament always has to agree.

In order to be able to react effectively to the virus, you practically need a “standing state parliament,” said Drese.

The burden on the hospitals in the federal state is higher than ever before.

It is unclear whether an entire country can be defined as a hotspot.

The Bavarian cabinet member Florian Herrmann (CSU) recalled Lauterbach's first appearance before the state chamber after he became federal health minister.

Lauterbach described the federal and state governments as a "team" in mid-January and emphasized the importance of cooperation.

According to Herrmann, there is no longer any sign of this.

"It's really a shame that we didn't notice anything more about it," he said.

Herrmann appealed to the federal government to follow up with a new law.

The federal government must “explore again” how the purpose of the Infection Protection Act can be better implemented.

Among the speakers in the state chamber, only Joachim Stamp (FDP), Deputy Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, and the parliamentary state secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, Sabine Dittmar (SPD), defended the reform.

"We welcome the reparation of the fight against corona," said Stamp.

He alluded to the fact that a state parliament would have to agree to the hotspot regulation in the future.

"The Bundestag and Bundesrat are able to reinstate all measures in a very short time." In view of the high number of infections, Dittmar said it was "only logical" that the protective measures "just didn't" disappear.

An entire federal state can also be a “local authority”, which, according to the new law, can be designated as a hotspot region.

Nevertheless, Dittmar called the parliamentary procedure for the reform "very laborious".

The compromise demands a lot from the countries.

"You are not unable to act," said Dittmar to the group of state representatives.

The Bundestag has already approved

The Bundestag had previously passed the law.

On Friday afternoon, 388 MPs voted in favor of the traffic light coalition's draft law, while 277 voted against.

Two deputies abstained.

Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) said the new Infection Protection Act was a “serious compromise” by the traffic light coalition.

However, the new regulation still allows targeted action to be taken against the pandemic.

The opposition sharply criticized the reform.

The health politician of the CDU, Tino Sorgen, spoke of a "muddle" of rules.

"The minister talks as if he were opposed to the application," said Erwin Rüddel (CDU).

Without the new law, all previous corona restrictions would have expired on Saturday.

They are replaced by basic protection, which stipulates that masks must be worn on public transport and for certain facilities.

They include nursing homes, clinics and medical practices, but not schools and businesses.

The countries may only order stricter measures for hotspots.

In addition, 3-G and 2-G proof obligations, extended mask requirements as well as distance and hygiene rules apply.

However, there are no longer any contact restrictions.

A hotspot can also be an entire federal state.

Many countries make use of a transitional arrangement

A transitional regulation allows the countries to leave the existing rules in force until April 2nd;

a number of countries have made use of this regulation.

Even in the traffic light factions, the reform met with criticism.

The health expert of the Greens, Kirsten Kappert-Gonther, said that "good protection against infection probably needs more than what is available today with this law".

A nationwide mask requirement would have been good.

"But no law could have been much worse than this law."

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