Berlin (dpa) – Since the number of corona infections is not falling significantly, people in Germany have to be prepared for further restrictions for the next three weeks.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the heads of government of the federal states agreed on Tuesday to extend the lockdown rules originally agreed on January 10th until the end of the month. In addition, they agreed on even stricter contact restrictions in the private sector. “The measures that we have decided are drastic,” emphasized Merkel. “There is now no time for half-heartedness,” said Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller (SPD).
After the online conference, Merkel said that in the second quarter of this year there would be significantly more vaccine doses “according to human judgment”. However, the group did not make specific, binding announcements as to when nationwide Covid 19 vaccinations can be expected at the latest. “I advise not to make any false promises,” said Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU).
Since December 16, many shops in Germany, but also schools and most daycare centers, have been closed. There are also strict restrictions on, for example, private meetings. Restaurants, cultural and leisure facilities had to close several weeks beforehand. The aim of the measures is to massively reduce contacts between people and thus infections with the coronavirus. In addition, company canteens should now be closed if possible or only offer take-away meals.
In the future, private meetings should only be possible with a person who does not belong to your own household. The previously applicable exceptions for children up to the age of 14 no longer exist. This means, for example, that two couples are no longer allowed to meet for dinner and two children are not allowed to visit another child at home. In the decision of December, which was implemented by the federal states in their own, in some cases slightly different regulations, it said: “Private meetings with friends, relatives and acquaintances are still on your own and another household, but in each case a maximum of 5 Restrict people. Children up to 14 years are exempt from this. ”
The federal states are also to limit the movement radius of citizens to 15 kilometers around the place of residence for districts in which more than 200 people per 100,000 inhabitants have been newly infected within seven days. If you live in such a corona hotspot and want to move further away from your place of residence, you would have to provide a valid reason, such as the drive to work. According to the Robert Koch Institute, 68 districts currently have a correspondingly high incidence value.
In Germany, there is already a limited range of motion in Saxony, where the number of new infections has risen sharply in the past three months. Here, citizens are only allowed a maximum of 15 kilometers from their place of residence, for example to do sports or to go shopping. Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (Left) had proposed a corresponding regulation for Thuringia, which is also badly affected by Covid-19. Other European countries have already gained experience with such measures. However, these were and are often combined with other restrictions – such as a night curfew – and sometimes much more stringent.
In order to protect the residents of old people’s and nursing homes from Covid-19 and from loneliness at the same time, the federal and state governments want to help send enough volunteers to these facilities to test staff and visitors for the corona virus.
Most of the schoolchildren and also many daycare children will probably have to stay at home for the next three weeks. Schools and day care centers are to remain largely closed until at least the end of January or only offer limited operation. If parents cannot go to work because of this, child sickness benefits should be paid for an additional ten days.
The regulations for travelers from risk areas are to be tightened. In principle, a corona test should be carried out directly upon entry.
A large majority of Germans are in favor of extending the lockdown to contain the corona pandemic. In a survey by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of the German Press Agency, almost two thirds of those questioned said they should continue the restrictions at least in their previous severity beyond January 10th. 41 percent are in favor of unchanged retention, a further 24 percent are even in favor of tightening. In contrast, only 17 percent are in favor of easing the lockdown, and only one in ten (11 percent) is in favor of a complete lifting of all restrictions.
The question of who is responsible for the slow start of Covid-19 vaccinations in Germany and how more speed can be made there is still a matter of dispute. Since the start of the nationwide vaccination campaign after Christmas, almost 317,000 vaccinations have been reported according to the RKI. Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) had rejected criticism with reference to the manufacturers’ limited production capacities.
“It is crucial that Germany has sufficient vaccine available and that the vaccinations are coordinated, run quickly and consistently,” said the Greens chairman Robert Habeck. “The production capacities and the available amount of vaccine must be increased as quickly as possible, the processing must be ongoing.” AfD chairman Jörg Meuthen said: “Regardless of how you feel about the corona vaccination, every citizen should have the opportunity to be vaccinated.” The federal government failed to procure a sufficient amount of vaccine at an early stage.
The Chancellor and the heads of government of the federal states want to discuss how things should continue from February 1st on January 25th.
The German health authorities reported 11,897 new corona infections to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within one day. In addition, 944 new deaths were recorded within 24 hours, the RKI announced on Tuesday morning. An interpretation of the data remains difficult because around Christmas and the turn of the year corona cases were discovered, recorded and transmitted with a delay.