Germany’s ‘light lockdown’: Merkel to push for school to remain open - Bild

Elias Hubbard
October 28, 2020

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants a meeting with state leaders on Wednesday to agree to close all restaurants and bars from November 4 in a bid to curb coronavirus infections but keep schools and nurseries open, newspaper Bild reported.

The restrictions are set to be put in place next week.

Germany's Robert Koch Institute reported on Wednesday 14,964 new cases in the past 24 hours.

Merkel's proposals have been described as "lockdown light" by German media, but the raft of potential restrictions on the table at the chancellor's meeting today effectively constitute a second lockdown. Shops will be permitted to remain open if they implement hygiene measures and limit customer numbers.

That is still well below figures seen in neighbouring France, where daily cases have topped 50,000, or Belgium where hospitals are reaching capacity.

Merkel warned on Tuesday that Germany's health system could hit breaking point if coronavirus infections continue to spiral and Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said Germany was likely to reach 20,000 new infections a day by the end of the week. Leaders will convene in two weeks to decide whether adjustments are needed.

Bavarian state premier Markus Soeder said he anticipated hard talks and pleaded for decisive national measures to avoid prolonging economic pain and damaging mental health over the winter.

"Better to do it now and do it right, than late and half-hearted", he said.

Christmas markets were not expressly closed by the edict, however local authorities have made a decision to cancel Christmas markets in Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Berlin and several other cities.

Germany has recorded 449,275 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic. A total of 10,098 people have died so far, according to RKI figures.

The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care in Germany climbed from about 400 at the beginning of October to 1,470 this week.

Ahead of Wednesday's talks, Merkel said she understood that the coronavirus measures were asking a lot of citizens, and stressed that they would only ever be temporary.

"We need to take action now", she said, adding that the key to defusing the current "very serious" situation was to reduce contacts while limiting damage to the economy.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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