People hoping for an end to ‘lockdown light” in Germany are likely to be disappointed as chancellor Angela Merkel and 16 state leaders reportedly consider tighter restrictions that could even carry on into December.
Germany is now entering its third week of partial lockdown. Schools and shops are open, but restaurants, entertainment, and sports venues are closed. Despite these measures, the country is seeing more daily new cases of COVID-19 than during the first wave.
On Monday, the Robert Koch Institute reported 10,824 new infections, which is 2,500 more than Monday last week. However, the latest data is not a clear picture as there are delays with weekend reporting — last Friday there were more than 23,000 new cases, a record high.
The government is deeply concerned that the surge in cases this month could overwhelm the country’s hospitals. It is aiming to get the seven-day infection rate down to 50 per 100,000 people. On Friday, it was at 140 per 100,000.
Germany has more intensive-care beds than France and Spain, but it saw a 70% spike in the number of people admitted to ICUs this month.
Merkel’s 10-page document for meeting today, seen by Reuters and other German media outlets, suggests that meetings between people should be cut to just one other designated household, and that young people should have one designated friend that they are allowed to meet with.
The proposals also include compulsory masks in schools for teachers and students, and class sizes to be reduced. People who have normal cold symptoms could also be put into quarantine.
These suggested new measures need to be agreed on by all state leaders, the federal government cannot impose them.
The food and beverage sector was hoping a reopening at the beginning of December, but this may be unlikely. Reuters reports that the states are postponing the decision on restaurant reopenings to 23 November.
To date, Germany has had just over 801,000 cases of coronavirus, and around 12,547 deaths.
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