Berlin (dpa) – Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has urged people in Germany not to give up the fight against the coronavirus after the partial tightening of the partial lockdown.
“ Right now, because we think so much about Christmas and the turn of the year ahead, I wish, and I wish all of us, that we stand up for each other more than ever, ” Merkel appealed to the Bundestag on Thursday in an emotionally presented government statement on Corona. -Politics for citizens’ solidarity. “If we take this to heart, we will get out of the crisis.”
At the same time, Merkel agreed to a likely further extension of the contact restrictions until January. “Given the high number of infections, we assume that the restrictions will have to continue until the beginning of January, at least for most parts of the Federal Republic of Germany,” she said.
But there is also hope, Merkel said, in view of the advanced vaccine approval processes and the greater knowledge of the virus’s effects than at the start of the pandemic. While vaccines do not immediately solve the problem, they are a “light at the end of the tunnel”. If vaccines were available before Christmas, they would be offered to people in the medical and nursing fields.
Federal and state governments decided on Wednesday evening that the partial closure with the closure of restaurants, theaters, fitness studios and leisure facilities, among others, would be extended until December 20. Private gatherings with friends, relatives and acquaintances should be limited to a maximum of five people from your own household and one other household. Children up to 14 years of age should not be covered by this rule. However, Christmas should be able to be celebrated in close family and friends with a maximum of ten people, not including children up to 14 years old.
The Chancellor stressed the need for the restrictions. “If we waited until the intensive care units in our hospitals were fully booked to take consistent measures to control the infection – they are already under pressure – it would be too late.” The new infections are still at “much too high a level”, the numbers are still increasing in some regions instead of decreasing.
Merkel called on people to include a week of protection when older family members visit Christmas, “in which everything is done to really minimize the number of contacts so that Christmas is a safe Christmas.” The Chancellor warned: “We don’t want the number of infections to skyrocket during the holidays.”
With a view to upcoming winter holidays, Merkel spoke out for closing all ski areas in Europe. There should be no tourist excursions, any unnecessary contact should be avoided. “We will try to vote in Europe whether we can close all ski areas. Unfortunately, when you hear the Austrian statements that we could do it so easily, it doesn’t look like much, but we’ll try again. “
“No doubt we have another difficult month ahead of us,” Merkel warned. “But just as we humans have mastered so many major problems in human history, now everyone in the pandemic can actively contribute to make sure we get through this time well.” It gives hope that the vast majority of people “will stick to the things we agree on and thus enable containment,” said the Chancellor to the applause of many MPs. The pandemic is and remains the greatest challenge since the Second World War. For Germany, for the European Union and for the whole world ».
The greater knowledge about the coronavirus makes a few things possible, said natural scientist Merkel. But it “also makes us very disappointed to know that this virus cannot be misled or circumvented”. You cannot “force them to behave differently just because it is in Germany or because it represents a school”. Merkel alluded to the skepticism of many prime ministers about more drastic measures in the school sector.
The Chancellor emphasized that fighting pandemics is not about a conflict between health and other important aspects such as education and economics. What protects the health system from overload serves everything else and social cohesion.
Merkel also made it clear that the federal government could not provide billions in financial aid without restrictions. It is also necessary to support the sectors affected by closures, such as the hospitality industry in December. They carried an enormous burden on society as a whole. Therefore, there must be a common interest in reducing contacts in such a way that effects become visible. “Because it is clear that we cannot continue this kind of help until the end of the month.”