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    Courtesy Translation: Prime Minister Malu Dreyer: Leaving the shutdown in cautious steps through testing and vaccinating

    Rheinland Pfalz crest to use with courtesy translations

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    Story by Nadine Bower 

    U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden   

    Press Release from the Rheinland-Pfalz State Government from 04 MAR 2021
    Courtesy Translation: Alper Koemuer, Public Affairs USAG Wiesbaden

    Prime Minister Malu Dreyer: Leaving the shutdown in cautious steps through testing and vaccinating

    "I have been working for many weeks to give a perspective to families in the state, the economy, culture and the event industry. With an increasing vaccination rate and well-available rapid tests soon, we have new factors that significantly change the assessment of the situation. We expect less severe and fatal medical conditions due to a higher vaccination rate. A broad test concept detects infections more quickly and prevents further infections. This makes a new risk assessment not only possible, but necessary," said Prime Minister Malu Dreyer after a video conference of the heads of the state governments with Chancellor Merkel.

    "The pandemic threatens many existences and lifetime achievements of many people in retail, gastronomy, culture and the event industry. That is why it was important for me to give these areas a clear perspective. Families have had to arrange work and home schooling for the past four months. It was and is an act of strength. All grades will go back to school before the Easter holidays. However, it remains on alternating schedules. We are stepping up additional funding opportunities for children. Retail and catering are also desperate to reopen. The rising temperatures will also help us to reopen restaurants, at least outdoors," said Prime Minister Malu Dreyer.

    The next federal conference will focus on travel. Rheinland-Pfalz is committed to a clear perspective for hotels, holiday apartments and caravan tourism over Easter.

    New factors change risk assessment

    Everyone in the state has made a major contribution with great discipline to the decline in the number of infections. For this she thanked the people from the bottom of her heart. "Rheinland-Pfalz has already vaccinated 87 percent of all residents of nursing homes. In a few weeks' time, all elderly citizens over the age of 80, who wish to do so, will be vaccinated.
    Appointment notifications for the end of March will be sent out in these days. This is the population group in which the largest proportion of the serious and fatal cases of the pandemic have occurred so far. Vaccinations will significantly reduce the number of serious and fatal comparable cases in future. Nevertheless, no new optional infection rates can be tolerated. If the number of infections were to increase again exponentially, the health service could quickly reach its limits with younger patients," the Prime Minister warned. Numerous reports on “long COVID” are alarming.

    Vaccination continues to pick up speed

    "We look forward to the prospect of getting so much vaccine in April at the latest that we can also include the independent doctors in the vaccination strategy on wholesale logistics," said Prime Minister Malu Dreyer. Health Minister Spahn had previously stated at the Federal Conference that he expected many more vaccines to be available in the end of March or early April. In the Rheinland-Pfalz vaccination centers alone, 50,000 initial vaccinations are pending within the coming weeks.

    Everyone should receive a free test offer once a week

    A combined strategy of opening and testing is now planned. Each further step should be done every two weeks to see how each step affects the infection rate.

    Starting 8 March, all citizens should be able to get tested at least once a week, even without symptoms. The federal government will carry the costs for this. The state and municipalities in Rheinland-Pfalz are setting up rapid test centers throughout the state. "I am infinitely grateful to our municipal partners and especially to the volunteer firefighters: we already have almost 1,500 rapid test volunteers ready and can start as early as Monday," said Prime Minister Malu Dreyer. The exact location of the rapid test centers will be announced this weekend.

    In addition to the self-testing, rapid tests carried out by third parties will remain important, making documentation safer. Irrespective of the federal government, Rheinland-Pfalz has already ordered 4 million rapid tests and another 2 million in the procurement process, so that we can get started as quickly as possible. Today, the first 450,000 test kits will be sent from the state to the municipalities. For this purpose, initial protective equipment will be provided free of charge.

    The federal government will discuss the further test strategy and future offers - especially from private companies - with entrepreneurs later this week.

    "I am particularly pleased that the Rheinhessen company “AESKU. Diagnostics.” received approval for self-testing from the Federal Office of Medicinal Product and Medical Devices yesterday," said Prime Minister Malu Dreyer. She herself got engaged to get an impression of the situation just last week and was sure that they would soon be available in retail stores. The self-testing allows all people who want to test themselves at home as a first step and, in the event of a positive result, to take the necessary measures such as isolation at an early stage. "This gives people a bit more security and also strengthens their own responsibility," the prime minister said. A positive result of a self-performed test had to be confirmed by a PCR test.

    Rheinland-Pfalz tests more often in schools than recommended in the decision

    In school operations, Rheinland-Pfalz will continue to adhere to our more generous rule, which allows teachers to be tested as often as they want.

    Opening perspectives

    After the first opening step on 22 February, when elementary schools started alternating classes and hairdressers were allowed to reopen, further opening steps will follow from 8 March.

    More contacts in the private sector possible

    "It was important to me that we also get a relief in the private sector. Starting 8 March, two households will be allowed to meet again, but no more than 5 people. Children up to the age of 14 are not included," said Prime Minister Malu Dreyer.

    Starting 8 March, preschool children in Rheinland-Pfalz will be able to return to daycare - starting 15 March the "urgent" appeal will be cancelled

    "Education is my number one priority. That is why I have worked hard to ensure that educators and elementary school teachers are given a higher priority in the vaccination order. In Rheinland-Pfalz, this occupation group will receive their first vaccinations on 15 March. In addition, they can be tested at any time without cause," said Prime Minister Malu Dreyer. Therefore, the preschoolers could soon return to the daycare centers. Starting 15 March 2021, the appeal to the parents (to keep their kids home) will be withdrawn. Daycare centers will be operated under the limitations of the corona conditions, always taking into account the development of infections.

    Second opening step starting 8 March

    Starting 8 March, bookshops, flower shops and garden centers will reopen. They are equated with the retail stores of daily needs.

    Close-body care services can also start up again. Offers where a mask cannot be worn, such as cosmetics and shaving, are only possible after a test taken on the same day.

    Openings depending on incidence rates starting 8 March at the earliest

    "These have been long and difficult negotiations, but with an incidence rate of less than 50, there is a clear prospect for Rheinland-Pfalz," the prime minister said. However, if the infection rate does not remain stable below 50, but increases to a level between 50 - 100, a general opening of all retail stores will not be possible until the beginning of April. "At the moment, the incidence rate is between 48 and 52. We are well advised to proceed very meticulously. We have good prospects, but also a high level of responsibility," said Prime Minister Malu Dreyer.

    With regard to the agreement between the German states and the federal government, that a "stable incidence rate" of less than 50 is required for a possible third opening step, and that if this incidence rate is exceeded, the openings must be withdrawn again after three days, the state will discuss the further steps in Rheinland-Pfalz in the coming days, in particular with the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Retail Association and the local umbrella organizations.

    "Our goal is that each individual can help to keep the infection situation under control, to remain stable below 50 and thus to allow openings," appealed Prime Minister Malu Dreyer. This is a particular challenge. Rheinland-Pfalz has achieved a lot due to the commitment and discipline of our people. Nationwide, Rheinland-Pfalz has the highest rate of vaccinations given and for some time now, it has been one of the best epidemiological locations. Since last Saturday, the incidence rate is below 50 again. However, it is not yet clear in which direction the infection situation will develop in the coming days.

    It is already clear that in counties with an incidence of over 100, these opening steps will not be implemented.

    If the seven-day incidence rate in our state remains stable below 50, retail stores could reopen, as well as museums, galleries and botanical gardens. The opened retail stores are obliged to ensure compliance with capacity limits and hygiene regulations through strict access control measures and consistent implementation of hygiene concepts.

    Joint arrangements should be taken with neighboring counties with higher incidences in order to avoid, as far as possible, cross-border use of open services.

    If the infections are above this mark up to a maximum of 100, increased protective measures apply in this opening step. Then only appointment shopping will be possible. This will be somewhat expanded. Visits to galleries, zoos and botanical gardens will only be possible with appointment booking and documentation.

    "It is very important, especially for young people, that contact-free outdoor sports will be possible again, especially for children under the age of 14. Group offers are even made possible here," says Prime Minister Malu Dreyer.

    "If the 7-day incidence rises to more than 100 on three consecutive days, we will pull the emergency brake on the second business day and return to the regulations in effect today."

    Fourth opening step depending on incidence rate – starting 22 March at the earliest

    If the 7-day incidence rate remains stable for an additional 14 days, outdoor catering can also reopen starting 22 March. The requirements then necessary depend on the epidemiological development.

    The same applies to theatres, concert halls and opera houses as well as movie theaters. Contact-free sports indoors should also be possible again. If the incidences are above 50, daily fast or self-testing is mandatory for these offers.

    Fifth opening step depending on incidence rate – starting 5 April at the earliest

    Even if the incidence rate does not fall below 50 but remains below 100, the retail trade can also open by 5 April at the latest. The federal and state governments will discuss further opening steps in the areas not yet named on 22 March.

    Economic aid and hardship funds for cases that have so far fallen through the cracks

    "The federal and state governments continue to support the companies with extensive support measures. Since November, more than EUR 8 billion have been disbursed through the various federal aid programs. The restart aid, which has been launched now, supports solo freelancer who were only able to apply for bridging assistance to a limited extent due to low fixed operating costs. With the so-called “Extended November/December Aid” and the increase in the progress payments in “bridging aid III” to up to 800,000 euros, large companies with a higher financial need can now also be helped. With a common funded hardship fund, the federal and state governments want to make an additional offer to help in cases where aid programs have so far been unable to take effect. The details of the scheme will be clarified in the next conference of the state governements," the prime minister said.

    Border regimes in the regions bordering the virus mutation region Moselle

    Independently of the Prime Minister's Conference, Prime Minister Malu Dreyer informed that there is no temporary reintroduction of border controls at the Schengen Borders. "There will be close coordination of the operations on the German-French border with the competent authorities of the Saarland and Rheinland-Pfalz and the French side in order to ensure a common regional approach. In the event of any findings in the context of the existing border search measures (e.g. commuters without a current test), the persons concerned will be informed of the legal situation, referred, if necessary, to the nearest test center and the local health authority will be informed."




    Date Taken: 03.08.2021
    Date Posted: 03.10.2021 05:19
    Story ID: 390808
    Location: WIESBADEN, HE, DE 

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