Berlin (dpa) – Due to the persistently high number of infections, several federal states are tightening their corona restrictions in view of the turn of the year.
Saxony, which is currently the most affected across the country, plans to close schools, daycare centers, after-school shelters and many shops as early as next Monday, as the state government announced.
Other countries want to reverse the planned easing, especially on New Year’s Eve. The National Science Academy Leopoldina recommended a “hard lockdown”. From December 24 to at least January 10, “public life would be largely empty throughout Germany”.
Saxony is now drawing conclusions from massive infections. In the Free State, the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days was 319, as the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced – well above the national average of 147.
“The situation in hospitals is not only tense, it is also extremely dangerous,” said Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU). In some places there are no more intensive care beds. That is why the cabinet decided “that we must calm this country. It is the only way to stop the infection process. “Supermarkets and shops for basic needs must remain open.
In Thuringia, with the nationwide second highest seven-day value of new infections, there should be no relaxation of the contact restrictions to ten instead of five people during the Christmas holidays, as Health Minister Heike Werner (Linke) said. According to Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff (CDU), Saxony-Anhalt wants to stick to the “tight regulations” on New Year’s Eve. In Rhineland-Palatinate, too, there should probably be no New Year’s Eve exceptions to contact restrictions, as Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) said. At Christmas, from December 23 to 27, there can be gatherings of ten people.
The background to the new measures is that the number of infections in Germany remains at a high level – despite the closure of many facilities in a partial lockdown since the beginning of November. Health authorities reported 14,054 new cases within 24 hours, the RKI announced Tuesday. Last Tuesday there were 13,604, the highest daily value was on November 20, at 23,648. Within a day, 423 deaths from the virus were reported – a week earlier that was 388.
The Leopoldina advised that in a “hard confinement” from Christmas Eve to January 10, all stores across the country, except those for daily needs with food, medicine and other necessary goods, should close. Home office should be the rule wherever possible. Social contacts are reduced to a very narrowly limited group.
The Christmas holidays in educational institutions and limited operations at companies and governments now offer the opportunity to make great strides in controlling the pandemic. It is true that this has increased short-term losses of added value. “But at the same time, it is the time until the new infections have subsided to the point where sagging is possible,” the scientists explain.
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) said that if the Prime Minister’s Conference agrees on such a path, his country will support him, even if it is not easy. “We have to reduce the contacts and the contacts that we reduce also lie with the company.” Uniform regulations are required in Germany for a “hard lockdown”. Söder sees it as the duty of the federal government to provide further financial assistance: “However, we need trade support, accompanying measures.”
Other countries announced further tightening. In Hessian regions with a consistently high rate of infections, there should be a curfew and a ban on alcohol in public. This should apply from next Friday to January 10th. In Baden-Württemberg, the state government wants to ban serving alcohol in the open air, given the large number of mulled wine stands. The congregations should already implement this in the 3rd Advent.
Federal and state governments had recently decided to extend the partial lockdown to January 10 – with a possible relaxation from December 23 to January 1. Schools and nurseries will remain open. The goal is to achieve fewer than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days – health authorities should be able to track infection chains in this way. According to participants in the parliamentary group of the Union, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) emphasized on Monday that the earlier measures would not reduce the high number of infections. It is unclear whether she will again discuss the situation and possible new measures directly with the Prime Minister before Christmas. So far, the next meeting is scheduled for January 4.