There are no signs of détente, everything to the contrary. Germany will maintain the “hard closure” of its public and social life until at least January 31 and tightens the restrictions even more. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and the prime ministers of the 16 federal states agreed today to extend and increase beyond January 10 the severe restrictions that they implemented before the Christmas festivities due to the permanent and high rate of new infections and deaths from the coronavirus. Germany, which weathered the first wave of the coronavirus much better than other European countries, cannot overcome the second. In the last 24 hours, almost a thousand deaths have been counted again, a figure that has been exceeded several days in the last two weeks. Among the measures agreed by the federal and federal executives is the limitation of movements to no more than 15 kilometers in radius for those who live in towns or regions with an incidence of more than 200 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in a week. Merkel had demanded before the meeting that this drastic restriction be applied when the incidence exceeds 100 cases, but could not be imposed on regional leaders.
The federal chancellor and regional prime ministers also agreed to keep schools and nurseries closed until February and further limit personal contacts to stop the spread of the virus and expressed concern about the new variant identified in the UK. Faced with the current possibility of meeting no more than five people from two different households, from now on it will only be allowed to meet one person with a foreign domicile. «The Federal Chancellor and the heads of the governments of the ‘Länder’ urgently appeal to all citizens to limit to the absolute minimum necessary, also in the next three weeks, all their contacts and that as far as as much as possible they remain in their homes, “says the document signed by all of them. Currently, all 410 rural and urban districts in Germany have an incidence of more than 100 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in a week and in 70 of them the incidence is higher than 200. The objective of the measures issued is to lower than 50 as soon as possible. possible throughout the country and discharge to hospitals, in the most critical regions on the verge of saturation.
“We have to reach a point where the chains of infections can be traced again,” stressed the conservative German leader, who warned that if this objective is not achieved, the threat of entering an endless loop of more or less closures will remain. less harsh. The cold months of January, February and March “are going to demand appreciable patience and discipline from everyone,” Angela Merkel said when presenting the agreements adopted at the meeting, which also included isolation measures for nursing homes until all its occupants have been vaccinated, the requirement of a negative PCR test when entering Germany from a risk country, but with the obligation to undergo a ten-day quarantine that can only be interrupted with a second negative test. Regarding vaccinations, Merkel rejected criticism for the slow progress of the operation in Germany due to the initial shortage of vaccines and the lack of filming of the inoculation centers. The Federal Chancellor stressed that the process will accelerate significantly as the EU approves other vaccines and increases the production of the one currently applied. The head of the German government also commented that vaccinations will begin to be felt on the dynamics of infections when “a good part of the young population has also been immunized.”
Also the incumbent president of the conference of regional prime ministers and mayor-governor of Berlin, Michael Müller, stressed that now is not the time “to do things by halves” to justify the tightening of restrictions and stressed that the heads of the various German executives «They will continue determined by the path started» to end the pandemic. The Bavarian Prime Minister, Markus Söder, said that the decisions taken “are based on scientific advice” and assured that there is no other way to stop the spread of the virus. “We do not do experiments, we are committed to safety,” said Söder, who acknowledged that “we know that this irritates people, but also us. It’s not fun “to close schools and daycare and limit contacts, but” the safety of schoolboys and educators has priority. ” He also warned that neither the vaccines nor the restrictions will allow the measures adopted to be alleviated in February if there is no clear progress in reducing infections.
Meanwhile, a large majority of the citizens of Germany defend prolonging the “hard lockdown” with the current restrictions for more weeks than originally planned. According to a poll by the YouGov demographic institute published on Tuesday, 41% of those questioned defended keeping the severe measures at their current level and 24% demanded that they be further toughened. Only 17% of Germans defend the easing of the restrictions and 11% their total elimination. And that bars and restaurants have been closed since the end of November, as well as gyms, sports or cultural centers, and shops that have not sold essential items since mid-December. Also hairdressers and beauty shops have been closed for weeks throughout the country.