Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Woidke tested positive for the coronavirus. Berlin’s governing mayor may have been infected.
Michael Muller at the opening of BER last Saturday Photo: dpa
The message is still on the cell phone, which is next to the screen as I write these lines: "Muller is negative," texted Senate spokeswoman Melanie Reinsch in mid-March. That’s when it looked like the governing mayor from the SPD might have caught the virus during an appointment with the Israeli ambassador, who later tested positive. And because Muller met for hours with his and the Brandenburg cabinet a few days later, there was the possibility that, in the worst case, two entire state governments would have to be quarantined – including journalists sitting close by at the subsequent press conference. Corona had first come very close back then, in March.
Now the situation is the other way around: Muller could have contracted the disease from his Brandenburg state leader colleague and party colleague Dietmar Woidke, who had symptoms of a cold on Sunday and had himself tested on Monday. 15 to 20 minutes, so exactly other meeting participants did not know that afterwards, the Berlin Senate met on Tuesday morning already, when the message of Woidkes positive test came and Mueller left the room for safety’s sake. The addition "fleeing" lying sheer on the tongue could not be corroborated also after persistent search – from "immediately" the speech is.
However, Muller is said not to have seen himself as a close contact person, even though pictures of the BER opening on Saturday show him right next to Woidke, just like airport boss Engelbert Lutke Daldrup (update: a negative test result is now available for him). According to the Senate, Muller wanted to continue government business from home on Tuesday, a test should follow, the result should be available by Wednesday.
The emotional situation is noticeably different than in March: Muller was the first in the close political environment who seemed to be infected. Then CDU leadership aspirant Friedrich Merz signed off with a positive Corona result in quarantine, next went Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeiner (SPD) in quarantine.
Changed emotional state
And now the reports are coming in tighter strings. Two weeks ago, Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), on Tuesday Defense Minister and CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, now the Prime Minister of Brandenburg. And in addition to Muller, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer of the CSU also went into domestic quarantine as a precautionary measure – he was also present at BER on Saturday.
In the end, the message itself did not come as a complete surprise – after all, top politicians are estimated to often have as many daily encounters as people at the checkout in the supermarket, even if the bath in the crowd is rather rare except for U.S. election campaign pictures with Donald Trump in Corona times. But despite all habituation: Another SMS from Senate Speaker Reinsch with the same text as in March would still be desirable.