German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged her countrymen to curb socialization after the country saw the largest number of coronavirus pandemic deaths in a single day.
At least for a limited time after Christmas, Germany is steadily heading towards a tighter lockout, as new virus cases stay stubbornly high – and even start to fall higher – amid a partial shutdown that started on Nov. 2.
In the past 24 hours, 590 Covid-19-related deaths were confirmed by the national disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, more than 100 higher than the previous weekly record.
It counted 20,815 new cases every day, up from the previous week’s 17,270. With a population of 83 million, Germany has now reported almost 1.22 million cases, including 19,932 deaths from the pandemic.
We are in a crucial, maybe decisive, phase of the fight against the pandemic,”We are in a decisive, perhaps the decisive, phase of the fight against the pandemic. The numbers are at far too high a level.”The numbers are far too high.
She described the rising number of people needing intensive care and dying as “very alarming”
Ms. Merkel has often urged decisive action, but has always had to step more slowly because the 16 state governments are responsible for enforcing and repealing restrictions in highly decentralized Germany. To coordinate action, they and the state governors meet regularly.
There are currently closed restaurants, pubs, leisure and sports facilities, and hotels are closed to visitors, but schools and non-essential industries remain open.
This spring, Germany has managed to prevent the high number of infections and deaths seen in other major European nations, and appears to have a much lower overall mortality rate than countries like Britain, France and Spain. But it is not motivating to have the latest numbers.
Ms. Merkel acknowledged a national academy of scientists and academics’ suggestion that Germans limit their socializing beginning next week and institute a “hard lockdown” from Dec. 24 to Jan. 10. From Dec. 24 to Jan. 10.
“We would do well to take what the scientists are telling us really seriously,” she said.
Early before Christmas, Merkel urged state governments to consider closing schools and said jumping from one mulled wine stand to the next over the holidays was “unacceptable” given the regular death toll.
If we have too many contacts with grandparents before Christmas and then it’s the last Christmas, then we have been irresponsible,”If we have too many contacts before Christmas and then it’s the last Christmas with the grandparents, then we’ve been negligent,”
There are already some state governors switching to tighter limits. The eastern state of Saxony, currently the hardest hit, will close schools and most shops until Jan. 10 on Monday. Southern neighbor Bavaria is introducing measures such as a nighttime curfew in the hardest-hit areas and calling for more home schooling and stricter border controls.