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    Courtesy Translation: Cabinet decisions of the Hessen state government

    Translation: Hessen press release

    Courtesy Photo | Icon to accompany courtesy translations from the state of Hessen... read more read more

    WIESBADEN, HE, GERMANY

    02.12.2021

    Story by Nadine Bower 

    U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden   

    Press Release from the Hessen State Government from 11 FEB 2021
    Courtesy Translation: Nadine Bower, Public Affairs Specialist

    Cabinet decisions of the Hessen state government

    Hessen Minister President Volker Bouffier, Social Affairs Minister Kai Klose and Minister of Culture Alexander Lorz commented on the cabinet decisions following the federal-state consultations.

    Today, the Hessen state government discussed the results of yesterday's federal-state conference in a cabinet meeting and took appropriate decisions. "The efforts so far have paid off, the number of infections has fallen significantly. However, we must not jeopardize this success and that is why the federal and state governments have agreed to extend the vast majority of regulations until 7 March," said Minister President Volker Bouffier after the cabinet meeting. "I am pleased that we have a plan for opening schools and daycare centers: starting on 22 February, grades 1 to 6 will be taught in alternating classes. Day care for children will be reopened to all children in normal operation under pandemic conditions – but with limited childcare times. We are keeping our word with this: in Hessen, we will start with schools and daycare centers (Kindergarten) as our first step of opening up, because we may not jeopardize our children’s education," the Minster President said.

    He also stressed the need for continued caution due to virus mutations and urged paying attention to hygiene and distance rules. "That is why we have agreed with the federal government to set the incidence rate at 35, as mentioned in the Federal Infection Protection Act, as a target point for the relaxation of the measures. At the very least, however, we must get well below 50. This is the only way we can ensure the tracking of contacts and break infection chains." Bouffier stressed that vaccinations remain an important building block in managing the pandemic. "Hessen continues on this path consistently. We use every vaccine that we receive. As of last night, we have already carried out 175,219 initial vaccinations and 71,954 secondary vaccinations. The rate for residents of senior citizens’ and nursing homes is over 72 percent. It's moving forward," Bouffier said.

    Schools and daycare centers (Kitas/Kindergarten)

    "It was important to us that schools and daycare centers take joint approaches in their opening steps," said Minister of Culture Prof. Dr. Alexander Lorz and Social Affairs Minister Kai Klose about the upcoming openings. "Of course, this is also subject to the requirement that the positive trend in incidence does not reverse. We must always keep an eye on the infection situation."

    In schools, starting Feb. 22.:

    Grades 1 - 6: Alternating lessons (plus emergency care)

    From grade 7 on: Distance lessons

    Graduation classes (incl. Q2): Classroom lessons

    Classroom lessons planned for high school graduates

    "I am very pleased that the Chancellor and the heads of the state governments are following the recommendations made by us and the Conference of Ministers of Culture to return to alternating classes this month. This is a noticeable relief for the families and the care situation at home," says the Minister of Culture. The provision of emergency care, is a necessary part of alternating education for children who cannot be cared for at home," the minister added.

    "I also have good news for all students in Q2. In view of the ongoing preparation for the Abitur exams in the coming year, similar to the final classes, presence lessons will again take place for these students from 22 February. "Unfortunately, I have to ask all students from year 7 onwards for patience. If the trend of reducing weekly incidence rates continues, we are planning to bring them back to school as soon as possible," Lorz said. What is new is that there is also a mask requirement in elementary schools starting Feb 22.

    "We will end the appeal to care for children at home as much as possible on 22 February. It is important and necessary for all children to have access to day care again. Especially the youngest ones who have been cared for at home in recent weeks urgently need to return to care facilities. For parents, the signal is: opening and loosening as carefully as possible. This also means that care services will be limited in time," said Health and Social Affairs Minister Kai Klose, "because the recommendation to provide care in constant groups will remain in place."

    More tests for educators and school staff

    The opening step for schools and daycare centers will also further increase the number of tests available to school staff and educators. The offer to take a free test every two weeks, which has been in place since autumn, will be doubled to one free test per week. The tests remain voluntary and can be taken in doctor's offices.

    Contact restrictions

    The existing contact restrictions remain in place. The following still applies: one household plus one more person. Parallel to the extended daycare and school openings, children under the age of 14 are not included in the contact restrictions in Hessen, as in many other federal states.

    Economy

    In the retail sector, states must adopt uniform rules to prevent day-tourism between neighboring states. "The extension of the lockdown - with the exception of hairdressers - is necessary and at the same time a major blow to our economy. The situation in the restaurants sector, retail, event and trade industry and leisure industry, as well as in art and culture, is very serious. This makes it all the more important that the disbursement of aid continues and that applications for bridging aid III can finally be submitted," said Economy Minister Tarek Al-Wazir. "It has taken far too long for states to be able to process applications for November and December aid and to trigger regular payments. In the meantime, more than three-quarters of applications for November aid and almost a third of applications for December aid have been finalized in Hessen and the money has been transferred in full." A total of EUR 390 million has already been channeled into November and December aid to Hessen businesses, and EUR 235 million to the restaurant industry alone. The federal government wants to start the first advance payments of the bridging aid III, which has been applied for yesterday, as early as the beginning of next week.

    Virus mutation in Hessen

    "We have successfully and significantly reduced the 7-day incidence through joint efforts during the last few weeks," says Klose. On 11 January, the 7-day incidence was 162.5. Today, Feb. 11, it is 65.8. At the same time, the number of people who need hospital treatment for the infection has slightly reduced.

    On Jan. 12, the mutant variant B.1.1.7 (Great Britain variant) of the Coronavirus was detected for the first time in a person from Hessen. A few days later, evidence of the Brazil and South Africa variants followed. Since then, these variants have spread strongly in Hessen. It is certain that at least the British variant is much more infectious than the previous form. This means that it spreads faster and more easily.

    "We need to watch this development very closely. We know from countries such as the United Kingdom and Portugal what the impact of this can be. The adjustment of the next target for the 7-day incidence to 35 must be regarded against this background. It is important that we do not jeopardize the success achieved," the Prime Minister said.

    Opening and perspective plan

    "Hessen will continue to work on planning perspectives for a safe and fair opening strategy. To this end, we will incorporate the results of yesterday's consultations into our plans and make a proposal to the federal government for a coordinated approach," the Minister President said. The aim is to discuss such an opening strategy during the next federal and state consultations on Mar. 3.

    It is essential that everyone continues to take every piece of freedom with greater care in complying with the AHA+L (distance, wash hands, mask, ventilation) rules. "We all literally have the virus in our hands. Therefore, please observe these simple and effective rules," Kai Klose appealed.

    Source: https://www.hessen.de/presse/pressemitteilung/kabinetts-beschluesse-der-landesregierung-0

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 02.12.2021
    Date Posted: 02.12.2021 03:15
    Story ID: 388961
    Location: WIESBADEN, HE, DE 

    Web Views: 154
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