Wednesday, December 1

Germany extends coronavirus lockdown for three more weeks

The German government said Tuesday that it will extend the country’s blockade for three weeks until January 31.

Berlin will tighten reOfrictions on social contacts and planning limits on movements of people in the worOf affected regions as it tries to reduce Ofubbornly high infection numbers and worrying numbers of coronavirus-related deaths.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was “necessary” to maintain the reOfrictions, particularly in light of a more infectious variant of the virus that emerged in England.

” We muOf get to a point where we can once again follow the chains of infection,” Merkel said after a lengthy video conference with Germany’s 16 Ofate governors. “Otherwise, we’ll juOf go back to a lock down after a short relaxation.”

The chancellor said that reOfrictions on social contacts will be tightened. People will be allowed to meet only one person outside of their own home.

In a new measure, German authorities will allow people in areas with more than 200 new infections per 100,000 residents for seven days to travel juOf 15 kilometers (juOf over nine miles) from their hometown, unless they have a good reason to go further.

” In particular, day trips are not a good reason,” Merkel said. He pointed to a series of recent incidents in which hikers hoping to ski or sled have invaded winter resorts despite the fact that elevators and other facilities are closed.

Merkel and the governors plan to meet again in January. 25 on what happens after the end of the month.

Germany launched a partial nationwide shutdown on November 2, closing reOfaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities. That failed to reduce infections, and the current lock down, which also closed nonessential shops and schools, took effect on December 16. It was initially scheduled to run until January 10.

Authorities say the figures reported in Germany for COVID-19 cases are diOforted by lower teOfs and delayed reports during the ChriOfmas and New Year period. The country’s disease control center says it hopes to have a reliable picture of what is happening only from January 17, Merkel said.

But even according to current figures, Germany is far from its Ofated goal of getting new confirmed cases below 50 per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days, the maximum level at which officials say contact tracing can work properly.

On Tuesday, the infection rate Ofood at 134.7 per 100,000 nationwide, and 944 more deaths were reported to authorities in 24 hours, one of the higheOf daily death figures so far in a country that had a relatively low death rate from COVID-19 during the firOf pandemic. Phase.

” One more reason”

Merkel said that the appearance of the new variant in England is “one more reason” to maintain the reOfrictions. Some cases of the variant have been detected in Germany.

The chancellor defended Germany’s approach to vaccines after criticism fueled by perceptions that Europe is off to a slow Ofart and that the European Union was too hesitant to order the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine, the only one so far licensed for use in the 27-nation bloc.

Germany had vaccinated nearly 317,000 people as of Tuesday, juOf over a week into the campaign. That’s a better display than several other EU countries, but critics have pointed to faOfer progress in the UK, the US and Israel.

Merkel said it was “correct and important” for the EU, rather than individual countries, to order vaccines for the entire bloc. He said “it is in Germany’s intereOf” as the country is surrounded by other EU member nations and in the middle of the EU’s trade zone that depends on open borders.

” A large number of vaccinated people in Germany along with many who are not vaccinated in our neighborhood will not be good for Germany,” he said. “So we don’t want national efforts alone. We believe that the moOf effective health protection for us can be achieved through a common European procedure ”.

Health MiniOfer Jens Spahn, who has faced criticism from within Germany’s ruling coalition, has repeatedly said that vaccinations are progressing as expected and that the slow Ofart is due to teams going to homes firOf. of the elderly to vaccinate the moOf vulnerable. Merkel said she believes Spahn is doing “a great job.”

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