The new NRW Prime Minister has sharply criticized Olaf Scholz for the corona strategy of the traffic light parties. He calls for a change of course. At the same time, Wüst himself has to take criticism for the measures in his country.
One day before the federal-state round on the corona situation, North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) expressed harsh criticism of SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz. Angela Merkel (CDU) spent a lot of time in her tenure as Chancellor in the Corona crisis consulting with the countries before making a decision, Wüst said on Wednesday in a special session of the Düsseldorf state parliament. “Olaf Scholz let the countries drain and tried to put them before a fait accompli with the Infection Protection Act – with devastating consequences.”
Wüst – currently also chairman of the Prime Minister’s Conference (MPK) – asked Scholz to correct course. From the impending SPD-led traffic light coalition in Berlin were negative signs, he said. “To let the epidemic situation come to an end with this development is a mistake and the wrong signal. It is not yet too late to correct this mistake.” Everyone should have brought back wrong decisions in the pandemic. “Even the future Chancellor would not break a spike in the crown to turn back at this point.” Chancellor Merkel also criticized the traffic light parties for their Corona course. Read more here.
Unfortunately, on Tuesday evening, the main committee of the Bundestag refused to allow the states to continue to use tried and tested instruments to protect people, said CDU politician Wüst. “The numbers are increasing, the instrument box is getting smaller. It doesn’t fit together.” Parliament and the government should be able to protect people in the event of a fall.
The North Rhine-Westphalian state parliament discussed the pandemic in the run-up to the Prime Minister’s Conference on Thursday. Wüst said he hoped that the talks between the prime ministers and the federal government “will be productive and that the federal and state governments will be able to agree on a common strategy”.
After the planned exchange with the municipal umbrella organizations, NRW will quickly implement the proposed restrictions for non-immunized people in public life. At the same time, the Düsseldorf head of government announced increased fines and stricter controls on compliance with the corona rules in his state. “Anyone who disregards the rules must expect sensitive and more sensitive fines,” he clarified.
A violation of the mask requirement will be punished with 150 euros instead of 50 euros. Anyone who, as a provider, issues a test certificate without actually having taken a test would have to pay up to 5,000 euros. “It has to be clear to everyone that this is no fun – this is about health,” said Wüst.
While the Prime Minister Scholz criticized, the Greens in North Rhine-Westphalia criticized his course: Wüst’s announced tightened corona measures would come too late. The protective measures could take effect in 14 days at the earliest, said Greens parliamentary group leader Verena Schäffer in the special session of the state parliament. The black and yellow state government wants to implement the so-called 2G rule in NRW next week. The seven-day incidence in North Rhine-Westphalia is already 183, said Schäffer. Until the measures take effect, it will continue to increase.
SPD opposition leader Thomas Kutschaty called on the new Prime Minister to take more decisive measures in the fight against Corona. In contrast to Wüst, North Rhine-Westphalia is “no longer ahead of the situation” in the pandemic, said Kutschaty on Wednesday in a special session of the state parliament. Many people would become infected with the corona virus in the next few days and weeks. Wüst’s creation of the word “concentrated vigilance” is only a “glossing over term for doing nothing”.
The access restrictions announced by the state government for people who have not been vaccinated or who have recovered must be consistently monitored, said the SPD party and parliamentary group leader. For this, the municipalities would have to be provided with the appropriate financial and human resources. Kutschaty also called for the reintroduction of the mask requirement in classrooms in schools. The closure of the vaccination centers in the cities and districts was a mistake. A decentralized vaccination structure must now be set up quickly.
Kutschaty said he thought it would be wrong to rush to rule out certain corona measures. He also no longer wants to close schools and daycare centers. But maybe you will not be able to do without other, local contact restrictions.
Kutschaty called on all people in North Rhine-Westphalia to be vaccinated and also to have a booster vaccination. People should keep their distance, wear masks, and get tested. “The fight against the fourth wave has only just begun.”