COVID: Merkel wants German states to do more to fight infections | News | DW

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged federal states in a TV interview on Sunday to do more to fight coronavirus infections. Merkel said additional restrictions such as curfews are needed to prevent the “exponential growth” of the virus.

States have uneven approach to tackling virus, says Merkel

“We have to break this third wave,” Merkel said on public broadcaster ARD’s Anne Will talk show, referring to the increase in coronavirus cases across the country. “We need action in federal states. We need to take appropriate action very seriously. Some states are doing it, some are not yet.”

“We have our emergency brake … unfortunately it is not respected everywhere,” Merkel continued. “I hope there could be some thought about this.”

The federal government and state premiers agreed on a strategy in early March in which lockdown restrictions in certain areas would be introduced if coronavirus cases exceeded 100 per 100,000 people over a seven-day period. This is called the “emergency brake” mechanism.

Federal government will take action if states don’t, Chancellor warns

In the German federal system, states are ultimately free to decide their own rules for dealing with the virus. The small southwestern state of Saarland, for example, has decided to end its lockdown measures after Easter and reopen sports and entertainment venues.

“If we feel like we can reopen things, that’s not on the agenda right now,” Merkel said of the states easing restrictions.

If states do not take appropriate action in “the foreseeable future,” Merkel warned that the federal government could potentially amend the infection protection law to implement nationwide restrictions.

“We are required by law to contain the spread, and at the moment that is not happening,” Merkel said.

Curfews, suggested contact restrictions to curb infections

Merkel suggested various additional measures states could take to fight infections.

“We need to do more, we have the possibility of exit restrictions, new contact restrictions, new mask wear,” Merkel continued, saying that a rigorous testing strategy is also needed to control the virus.

Merkel said all Germans should be able to get vaccinated by the end of September. She said Germany would get “no vaccine that is not produced in Europe”.

wd / csb (Reuters, dpa)

James R. Rhodes