New corona rules will probably apply in Baden-Württemberg next week. The state government’s plan to stick to the stricter regulations for alarm level II failed at the Administrative Court.
The state wants to reinstate the regular tiered system of corona restrictions that was suspended on January 12 in the middle of next week, as a spokeswoman for the State Ministry announced on Friday in Stuttgart. The government is also reacting to a ruling by the Administrative Court, which declared the freezing of alert level II with severe restrictions for the unvaccinated to be partially illegal.
If the burden on hospitals remains at the current, slightly lower level, the normal alarm level will apply again. Actually, this level provides for significantly fewer restrictions. However, the government wants to adjust the rules again in the individual stages, especially at events.
With the new version of the Corona Ordinance, she also wants to wait for the results of the next federal-state meeting next Monday on the further Corona strategy. It is controversial to what extent the measures can be relaxed because of the milder course of the disease in the omicron variant. Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) had recently urged caution because the data on Omikron was not yet reliable.
Freezing alarm level II, which was originally planned until the end of January, contradicts the Federal Infection Protection Act, according to the VGH. The green-black state government had retained this level in the Corona Ordinance out of concern for the omicron variant of the corona virus, thereby repealing the limit values for the burden on hospitals by the end of January.
Judge: Hospitalization incidence must not be disregarded
The Mannheim judges said on Friday that a regulation that provides for far-reaching access restrictions for unvaccinated people, regardless of the incidence of hospitalization, is not in line with the requirements of the federal Infection Protection Act.
Significant restrictions on fundamental rights “cannot be ordered separately from the seven-day hospitalization incidence,” according to the court’s statement. This incidence indicates how many corona infected people are brought to a clinic within a week and per 100,000 inhabitants.
The Mannheim-based VGH agreed with an unvaccinated pharmacy student who had opposed the fact that non-immunized students are largely excluded from face-to-face events at universities due to the “frozen” alert level II. He saw his right to freedom of training violated by the corresponding paragraph in the Corona Ordinance on Study Operations. The “freezing” of alert level II announced by the state government was wrongly justified with the Omicron variant.
The first senate of the VGH has now suspended the corresponding §2 paragraph 5 of the Corona Ordinance for Study Operations at the end of Sunday. If the regulation refers to the frozen alert level II, it is likely to be illegal. The judges are particularly bothered by the fact that the freezing was expressly “independent” of the seven-day hospitalization incidence. The seven-day hospitalization incidence describes the number of Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital per week per 100,000 inhabitants.
The VGH explained that restricting access for students is not a low-threshold measure and therefore cannot be counted towards preventive protection against infection. Rather, it is one of the more extensive protective measures for which the seven-day hospitalization incidence is expressly provided as a benchmark in the Federal Infection Protection Act. Significant restrictions on fundamental rights could not be ordered separately from this value.
The spokeswoman for the Ministry of State explained that the VGH decision initially only affected the Corona regulation for study operations. “However, we will update the main Corona regulation in the coming week as planned anyway and end the ‘freezing’ of alert level II, which was explicitly designed as a temporary solution until February 1st at the latest.”
The tier system logic will be retained in principle. Measures should continue to be based on the incidence of hospitalization and the load on the intensive care units. “Because the Omikron wave is also about protecting the healthcare system from being overloaded and ensuring that the sick in Baden-Württemberg receive appropriate treatment.”
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