Merkel urges German states to toughen COVID restrictions – EURACTIV.com
Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday urged German states to step up efforts to curb the rapid rise in coronavirus infections, and raised the possibility of introducing curfews in an attempt to contain a third wave.
Merkel expressed her displeasure that some states had chosen not to stop a gradual reopening of the economy even as the number of infections per 100,000 people over seven days had passed 100 – a measure on which she and regional leaders had reached an agreement in early March.
“We have our emergency brake… unfortunately, it is not respected everywhere. I hope there could be some thought about this, ”said Merkel during a rare appearance on broadcaster ARD’s Anne Will talk show.
Coronavirus infections have increased rapidly in recent weeks, driven by more transmissible strains of the virus. Merkel’s chief of staff warned earlier on Sunday that the country was in the most dangerous phase of the pandemic and must suppress the virus now or risk dangerous mutations that were immune to vaccines.
On Sunday, the incidence of the virus per 100,000 fell from 104 to 130 a week ago. The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 17,176 to 2,772,401, data from the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases (RKI) showed on Sunday. The reported death toll rose from 90 to 75,870, according to the count.
The roll-out of vaccination in Germany started slowly, hampered by supply constraints. As of Sunday, 10.3% of the population had received at least one first injection, far behind the rates of other countries like Israel, the United States and Great Britain.
Merkel said that if states do not start implementing measures with the appropriate seriousness in the “very foreseeable future”, she should consider what measures could be taken nationally.
One option would be to change the infection protection law to stipulate what should happen in certain scenarios, Merkel said, adding that the government and states are obligated to contain the infections.
Companies may also need to be forced to implement testing for staff who cannot work from home if they don’t do it enough on their own, she said.
Merkel said she was not convinced the measures taken so far were sufficient to break the third wave of the pandemic.
“In any case, I will not stand there and watch that we have 100,000 people infected,” she said, referring to a warning from RKI chairman Lothar Wieler that daily cases could reach this level. without more stringent restrictions.
“What additional measures do we need? … We must do more. We have the possibility of going out restrictions, additional contact restrictions, wearing additional masks… as well as testing strategies in all places: therefore in schools twice a week, and via the economy ”.