Back in lockdown

27 April 2021

Tuebingen’s model experiment of opening a city in lockdown has ended. Shops, theatres, schools – from this Monday on, everything in the small German town is closed again. The federal government has decided on a nationwide ‘emergency brake’ to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Exceptional rules had applied in Tuebingen for six weeks: public facilities were allowed to open despite the pandemic and could be visited by anyone who had a negative coronavirus test result from the same day. The city offered free tests and provided day passes for access to shops, cinemas and theatres.

The pilot project, monitored by the university hospital, should serve as a possible model for other cities.

“You can control the pandemic with testing”

Tuebingen’s mayor Boris Palmer (image) emphasised that the trial had been a success. “We can really show that you can reduce the number of infections with this”, he told German radio. “You can bring the pandemic under control with testing.”

Around 50,000 tests were carried out per week in the city of 91,000 inhabitants. This way, many positive cases have been detected at an early stage and chains of infection have been broken, Palmer said.

The number of new infections in the city of Tuebingen had remained below the threshold of 100 per 100,000 inhabitants per week during the time of the pilot project. In the region, however, the number is higher, and this causes the closure according to the new German regulation.

Photo © City of Tuebingen, Thomas Dinges