Germany to Remain under Lockdown Till June amid Rising Morbidity
Germany’s coronavirus infection rate rose at the weekend despite stricter restrictions as the country is struggling to contain a third wave of infections, with efforts complicated by the more contagious B117 variant and a relatively slow start to its national vaccination campaign, news wires reported.
At the same time Finance Minister Olaf Scholz cautioned he did not expect moves to ease curbs before the end of May. "We need a timetable how to get back to normal life, but it must be a plan that won't have to be revoked after just a few days," Scholz told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
The federal government should be able to outline "clear and courageous opening steps" for the summer by the end of May, allowing restaurants to adjust reopening plans and citizens to plan holidays, he said. Adding that the steps would also clarify when visits to concerts, theatres and soccer stadiums would be possible.
Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday urged Germans to stick to tougher rules imposed in areas with high infection rates at the weekend, saying the additional measures were needed to break the third wave of infections. Germany's seven-day average of cases per 100,000 people rose to 166 at the weekend, the Robert Koch Institute said on Sunday.
Parliament approved amendments to the Infection Protection Act last week to give the federal government more powers in the pandemic. Merkel drew up the changes after some of the 16 federal states refused to implement tougher measures. The new law enables the government to impose curfews between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in districts where cases exceed 100 per 100,000 residents on three consecutive days. The rules also include stricter limits to private gatherings and shopping.
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