Blocking off hotspots: Economists are critical of the RKI proposal

Cordon off the police, via dts
Cordon off the police, via dts
Economists rate the idea of ​​sealing off corona hotspots in order to prevent travel from them very differently.

Gabriel Felbermayr, head of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), points out that the sealing off of hotspots in Asia, and especially in China, has proven itself in order to curb the spread of the virus quickly, as the "Handelsblatt" Monday edition) said. "But it is a much more draconian measure than a ban on accommodation, and enforcement, as the example of Asia shows, requires greater use of resources, potentially even the use of the police," said Felbermayr.

From an economic point of view, “targeted closures” are probably better than general travel restrictions because they concentrate the adjustment costs on the geographical areas in which the infection rate is strongest. "This would create the right incentives to do everything locally to reduce the incidence," he said. But you have to think very carefully about the definition of hotspots: "It would probably have to be municipalities, not districts, and whether the critical incidence rate should be 50 cases per week and 100.000 inhabitants is also unclear," he said. Ifo President Clemens Fuest, on the other hand, believes that the economic impact would depend on what exactly "lockdown" means. "When it comes to restricting non-professional travel for a limited time, the economic consequences are likely to be manageable, but a complete closure for passenger traffic would have high economic costs," he said. In addition, politicians must consider the general consequences for consumer and producer confidence: “The lockdown would be a signal that the crisis is worsening significantly. In my opinion, this should only be done if the yield in the form of containing the epidemic is high enough, ”he said. This weighing is difficult and must be made on the basis of very incomplete information. This is "not an easy task for the political decision-makers". DIW President Marcel Fratzscher already fears that this consideration can only go wrong. "The success of Corona measures depends first and foremost on their acceptance by people," he told the "Handelsblatt". Blocking off hotspots could not only be ineffective, but in the worst case even counterproductive if many citizens did not accept this and therefore opposed the entire strategy and other political measures. "Examples such as Spain and France show that tougher restrictions do not have to lead to a better limitation of the wave of infections, even in the long term." Fratzscher therefore considers the sealing off of hotspots a "dangerous experiment".