He had always warned: Corona was not over, a second wave was only a matter of time. Bavarian Prime Minister Söder now has a hotspot in his own country. And must react.
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When Markus Söder stood at the Prinz-Carl-Palais in Munich on Monday morning and spoke about the new Corona hotspot in Mamming, it was exactly six months since the first person in Germany tested positive for the new virus. It was in Bavaria of all places at the time. When the wave really broke, the prime minister and CSU chief had largely lost their lives in the Free State – and only released them slowly and late. Later and slower than many other federal states.
As of the weekend, anyone who follows the Corona report has known the Lower Bavarian community of Mamming with around 3,340 residents and a history stretching back over a thousand years. Ideally located on the floodplain of the Isar. It has been proven that more than 170 agricultural workers on a vegetable farm are infected with the corona virus, also because the operator would not have adhered to his own concept of protection. The workers should lie and go after the so-called cucumber leaflets. Always the same people, always in the same order. But who meets whom in the evening is difficult for the authorities to control, specifies the Minister of Health Melanie Huml (CSU).
Why should you go on vacation to a risk area?
The housing of agricultural workers is behind barriers on the site of a farm. (Source: Armin Weigel / dpa)
On Monday, barriers will seal the site. Sometimes people walk through the site in small groups. Calm. There was even more going on here on the weekends. A test station will be installed nearby. The citizens of Mamminger should also be able to be tested.
With clear words, Söder again warns: “Corona does not forgive negligence,” he says. And: “Corona comes back creeping, but unfortunately with all her might.” Everyone should pay attention to the rules of hygiene – distance and mouth-to-nose protection. Higher fines are intended to increase pressure on companies to comply with protection concepts.
In view of the summer vacation that has just started in Bavaria and the memories of the carnival holidaymakers who brought the virus to Bavaria in piles from the Austrian ski resort of Ischgl, the CSU boss is concerned about the presence many “mini Ischgl”. Places where no one controls the infection process. And he asks the question: why do you have to go on vacation to a risky area?
Söder reiterates its call for corona tests to be mandatory at airports for holidaymakers returning from risk areas. Calls and requests – he doesn’t have much left. Because it’s the federal government’s turn. The question whether such an obligation is even possible must first be verified legally. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) has already announced such a test this weekend, because: “It is an interference with the freedom to force someone to take a test”.
In any case, the identified risk areas are only part of the problem. Holiday destinations like St. Wolfgang in Upper Austria, where dozens of employees of tourism companies have been infected with the corona virus, are not included – almost the entire EU is not considered to be a corona risk area. And: many holidaymakers go to European tourist regions anyway by car or train.
Bavaria wants testing centers near the border
In Bavaria, there will now be test offers – voluntary – for travelers by car at major stations in Munich and Nuremberg as well as on roads near the border. Not just for those in Bavaria, as Söder points out. It is “administrative assistance” for other countries.
The corona outbreak in Mamming puts a new light on the cautious and cautious strategy of the Bavarian government in the fight against the pandemic. So far, Söder had received a lot of praise for his course. Popularity ratings have skyrocketed in the polls, and he is now even traded as a candidate for chancellor because he can cope with crises.
Also in the perspective of the corona epidemic at the Tönnies slaughterhouse in North Rhine-Westphalia, where Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) is following a more flexible path, Söder had warned against too rapid an easing. The case served as a benchmark for Söder that the risk of infection is still high. The reaction: Bavaria was one of the first federal states to impose holiday bans on people living in risk areas.
Now he has struck the Free State himself with Mamming. Asked about parallels and criticisms of the easing policy, Söder ducked Monday: You could never compare cases. However, it is always about reacting quickly and testing quickly and extensively after the first cases. “The timeline,” says Söder de Mamming, was “very good”.
For the opposition, it is a blow: the Greens, the SPD and the FDP in Bavaria accuse the state government, among other things, of insufficient control of the premises of the vegetable farm and therefore give Söder a joint responsibility. “With the Bavarian government’s arrogant handling of the health protection of farm workers, it was only a matter of time when there would be corona herds in Bavaria again,” said Julika Sandt, FDP member at state parliament.