Berlin (dpa) – The partial lockdown imposed by the corona pandemic with closed restaurants, museums, theaters and leisure facilities is extended until January 10.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the prime ministers of the federal states decided this on Wednesday during their deliberations. “In principle, the situation will remain as it is now, with the exception of the Christmas rules, of course, which were made extra,” Merkel said after the deliberations.
According to information from the German news agency of participants, Merkel, the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet (CDU) and the Prime Minister of Bavaria, Markus Söder (CSU), had called for an extension of the partial lockdown until January 10 at the switchover. . Laschet was quoted from the group, “We provide clarity.” On January 4, federal and state governments want to discuss how to proceed afterwards.
The partial lockdown has been in effect since early November and was extended to just before Christmas last week. However, Merkel pointed out on Wednesday that on average they are still far from the goal of an incidence of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days.
Health authorities reported 479 deaths related to the coronavirus to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within 24 hours. With 487 dead on Wednesday, the highest daily value since the start of the pandemic was reached. Moreover, relatively many people in Germany are still infected with the virus. According to figures from the RKI on Thursday morning, 22,046 new infections have been reported. A week earlier that was just below the level.
Saar Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) demanded unity from his fellow countrymen in the fight against the pandemic. “Despite all the regional differences, people expect that we will comply with similar regulations nationwide for dealing with the corona pandemic,” Hans told the German news agency in Berlin on Wednesday evening. “What we need most now is unity: the more we speak with one voice, the greater the acceptance of the measures.”
Bavaria’s prime minister, Söder, said the measures could be further tightened. “The question is whether we can keep the country in this kind of semi-sleep all the time or whether at some point we shouldn’t have to think about going deeper in some places very clearly and consistently,” said the CSU chairman. His feeling is that “we shouldn’t be afraid to be very consistent in the end – and maybe even less consistent than longer semi-consistent.”
The general manager of the Association of Cities and Towns, Gerd Landsberg, told the Funke media group papers (Thursday) that extending the partial lockdown until early January is a tough but unavoidable approach. The number of infections is still clearly too high. “Nevertheless, it is now necessary to develop a clear perspective for the period after the beginning of January,” said Landsberg. “A lockdown for months, which will also continue at the beginning of 2021, is difficult to imagine.”
This is true not only from the perspective of the companies involved and the economy as a whole, but also from the perspective of the people who rightly want a bit of normalcy back. Landsberg said politics needed to send “clear signals of hope” to the population. “That should be possible, especially since the vaccinations, which are expected to start soon, can gradually guarantee greater safety.”
On the other hand, Merkel warned Wednesday evening not to have too high expectations of vaccinations at first. In the first quarter, you will likely receive about seven million doses of vaccine, and two vaccinations are required at any given time interval. “In the second quarter it will be much better from a human point of view.” A lot of vaccine will likely be available in the third quarter.
Applications have been submitted in the EU for two vaccines: one from Mainz-based company Biontech and its US partner Pfizer, and one from US company Moderna. The Biontech / Pfizer vaccine has already received urgent approval from the UK regulatory agency, it was announced Wednesday.