Sunday, September 26

Germany prepares to maintain lockdown until April


Correspondent in Berlin

Updated:

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The draft that will be on the table today, at the meeting that Merkel will maintain with the presidents of the Bundesländer, includes an extension of the restrictions against the pandemic until April. Meanwhile and with a view to the Easter holidays, the document provides the creation of the concept of ‘low-touch vacation’ and leaves its application to free decision of the regional governments and within each one of the Länder. The text suggests that it would be possible to allow citizens, within their own region and taking into account the applicable contact restrictions and strict hygiene requirements, the ‘implementation of a trial regime’ that would open the possibility of ‘accommodation and overnight stays »Where« you can use your own sanitary facilities and you can organize meals through self-sufficiency ».

In other words, holidays in apartments, holiday homes, rural houses and caravans in self-sufficient groups and isolated from the rest of the tourists would be possible, but this is a paragraph that is in square brackets, which means that it is still necessary coordination with the federal government of Berlin in this point. The Chancellor agrees in principle with this plan, although the Chancellor Minister, Helge Braun, specified yesterday that the document has not been drawn up in his department, but jointly by the Bundesländer governed by the Social Democratic Party and that they make this proposal to the rest.

Emergency break

The last time Merkel met with the regional presidents, they decided to timidly open hairdressers and non-essential shops, always with capacity limits and by appointment. As of today and for more than three months, leisure, gastronomy, tourism and culture are completely closed except museums. It was expected that in this new meeting they could take more relaxation measures and that beer gardens, cinemas and theaters could begin to open from this week, but the increase in the incidence in these fifteen days, from the 52 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days up to 103.9 new cases of yesterday Sunday, forces to actuate the agreed mechanism of ’emergency brake’ and to retrace the path again in the direction of confinement.

This possibility is a serious blow to German society, exhausted by the closure. According to a Kantar poll published yesterday by ‘Bild Zeitung’, 82% of Germans ask that, despite the current level of incidence, the open-air catering service be opened, a measure with which it is only against the fifteen%. 70% want holiday apartments and campsites to be opened and 59% would even choose to open hotels. Cinemas and theaters are considered necessary by 61% of those surveyed.

Spring fever

“I would have liked to do without this emergency braking, but that will not be possible,” said Merkel. Municipalities are pushing for more flexible rules. The German Association of Cities and the Association of German Cities and Municipalities yesterday called for a move away from the rigid focus on incidence value, and that additional criteria such as the occupancy of ICU beds be integrated. But at the federal level Germany castles in the direction of the new closure.

The SPD health expert, Karl LauterbachIn view of the content of the draft, yesterday he turned against the proposal of the regional presidents of his party and warned: “They can turn it around as they want, but we have to return to the blockade!” Also the leader of the SPD, Saskia Esken, asked yesterday that the restrictions be tightened again to stop the third wave in time. “Even with all the understanding of our current spring fever and the needs in culture, commerce, gastronomy and tourism, while vaccination does not reach effective levels, we have to postpone the planned openings and take another step towards closure.” With the adjective spring, he was referring to the temperatures of between 15 and 20 degrees that are expected in Germany for the days of Easter.

The Prime Minister of the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania region, Manuela Schwesig, also a Social Democrat, he replied that “many people do not understand that there are opportunities to enjoy Easter holidays in Mallorca, but at home they cannot even rent a holiday apartment in their own state”, referring to the fact that the lifting of the Classifying some Spanish Autonomous Communities as a ‘risk zone’ will allow many Germans to spend those days in Spain.

Indeed, many Germans do not understand that their country maintains significantly stricter pandemic restrictions than the rest of Europeans.

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