Berlin / Passau (dpa) – Given the persistently high number of infections, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) is considering tightening contact restrictions – including on New Year’s Eve.
After federal and state governments decided to extend the partial lockdown to January 10, Söder asked “whether this is the only measure or whether significant improvements are still needed in some areas.” During a visit to Passau, the CSU boss said on Thursday: “If the numbers remain that way, it will also be clear that the number of contacts must also be reduced on New Year’s Eve, for example.”
Despite recent restrictions, the number of corona cases is still too high from the viewpoint of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). “The situation remains very tense,” said RKI chairman Lothar Wieler in Berlin. Within 24 hours, 22,046 new infections were reported across Germany – just less than a week ago.
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) was especially alarmed by the many corona deaths: “What really worries me is the high number of deaths in recent days,” he said in a podcast on the news portal “ThePioneer”. With 479 deaths within one day, Thursday morning was the second highest level since the start of the pandemic.
Against this backdrop, federal prime ministers had agreed with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) to extend the partial lockdown with closed restaurants, museums, theaters and leisure facilities until January 10. The restrictions have been in effect since the beginning of November and were extended last week until just before Christmas. Saarland Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) demanded unity from his colleagues in the fight against the pandemic: “The more we speak with one voice, the greater the acceptance of the measures,” he told the German news agency.
Not only the measures to combat corona, but also the financial support from the state to the companies that had to shut down due to the pandemic were controversial recently. FDP Group Chairman Michael Theurer spoke out in favor of a significant increase in aid advances in November. They should increase by a factor of 100 to a maximum of 500,000 euros – otherwise companies could run into significant liquidity problems, Theurer warned. Minister of Economy Peter Altmaier (CDU) said in the RTL / ntv program “Frühstart” to investigate an increase in certain cases. For many medium-sized and larger companies, the prepayments are actually “not enough”.
According to observations by RKI, the contamination rate in Germany currently differs significantly from region to region: Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg recently showed a slightly downward trend. There were slight increases in Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg, marked increases in Thuringia and very clear in Saxony.
Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) does not expect a certain normalcy again for six months. “I think as soon as summer comes we will have a basic relaxation,” he told MDR radio. Then many people will also be vaccinated, “so that from May / June we will lead a normal life again”.