New informations from our ENGS Members in Germany and Finland
Christa from Hamburg
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the number of infections in Germany is developing positively. “The number of reported infections continues to fall. This is very good news, ”said President Lothar Wieler. But the previous recommendations would have to be followed to keep the number of infections low. “Keeping distance is the new daily routine,” he said. The number of people infected with the corona virus in Germany are 163,860. The RKI has recorded 6831 deaths so far. The number of those recovered was approximately 135,100.
In several german countries, however, there is sharp criticism of the uncoordinated advance. Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) emphasized: “You can’t stay together if everyone has decided beforehand what to do.” Some countries may have given some the impression that carefree encounters are possible again.
In Hamburg the playgrounds are open and church services are allowed again. Museums, memorials and zoos may also open subject to conditions. Individual sport outdoors is possible.
Visits to nursing homes continue to be prohibited and many residents suffer from loneliness and depression. The Hamburg Greens consider the strict ban to be wrong and are discussing the conditions under which easing may be possible. Some nursing homes have found creative solutions. The restrictions affect not only older people, but also young people with disabilities and restrictions.
Reino from Finland
The virus has now killed 240 Finns. Situation is quite good – intensive care facilities are still available because restrictions have been strict.
Most of the dead are elderly, as in all other countries. As I wrote earlier, defining who has died of corona and who of other diseases is not easy. In some countries, the number of deaths might include all deaths, not only deaths for corona.
The government of Finland is considered to have made three mistakes in managing the corona.
1. In the early days of the disease, ski tourists returning from Alps and other areas were allowed to continue their journey from the airport without supervision and guidance. Some left in their own cars, but most walked from the airport to bus or train. Only after a few days the public transport users were directed to a week of quarantine at the airport hotel.
2. There are not enough protective masks in emergency stocks, even for the use of medical staff, let alone ordinary citizens. Their acquisition was a serious failure by the Security of Supply Center. It ordered millions of masks from two shady entrepreneurs and even paid in advance. And finally, most of the masks turned out to be unsuitable for the purpose.
3. The government promised economic help for companies that would suffer the most from restrictions. The subsidies were started from small entrepreneurs who employed at most five people. The money was distributed by an agency called Business Finland, according to loose criteria. The Agency was established to support innovative companies and money was given e.g. for desk drawer companies without net sales, IT and media consultants, etc. A few public figures also received money to make TV programs, games, etc. Delicious material for the yellow press and TV. And, of course to the opposition.
Now the public debate shifted to the following topic: coronaexit. Yesterday (May 4), after two days meeting, the government announced the first steps to lift the restrictions. They were as follows:
• Libraries open immediately
• 14.5. kindergartens and primary schools are opened, work travel from Estonia is allowed and outdoor activities are opened
• 1.6. schools of second stage and universities are opened, restaurants will be opened as long as distances are taken care of, sports competitions will be allowed – without the public, museums, theaters, youth and club facilities, swimming pools and other indoor sports venues will be carefully opened and the gathering limit will be raised from 10 to 50 people; big events for more than 500 people will remain prohibited at least until 31.7.
The recommendation to use telework, where possible, remains valid. For people over the age of 70 the recommendation to avoid physical contact remains in force.