Germany extends Covid-19 lockdown measures to 7 March

Photo: EPA Angela Merkel in talks with state premiers over whether to extend lockdown.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government on Wednesday agreed to continue the shutdown put in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic until at least 7 March, news wires reported. Earlier on the day the federal government had pushed for an extension of the current shutdown to 14 March. But several state premiers called for it to end earlier on 7 March.

Merkel told reporters after the crunch talks with state leaders that Covid-19 infections in Germany were coming down after more than three months of tough restrictions. "When we look at this development we can be quite satisfied," she said.

But she called on people in Germany to be patient as fears grow over more contagious virus variants first detected in Britain and South Africa.

The agreement stresses that schools and daycare centres should be "the first to gradually reopen", but that it is for individual states to decide how and when that happens.

After the announcement, Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller said the capital would begin partially reopening schools from 22 February, with other regions expected to follow suit.

Hairdressers will, however, be able to reopen on 1 March, regardless of the lockdown extension, provided they adhere strictly to hygiene regulations.

It also raises the prospect of museums, galleries and some services restarting once the virus incidence rate falls to 35 new cases per 100,000 residents over a seven-day period.

Previously the government had aimed for an incidence of 50 new infections per 100,000 people in seven days for restrictions to be eased. But this goal appears to have been changed due to fears over the virus variants.

Germany closed restaurants, hotels, culture and leisure centres in November, before adding schools and non-essential shops to the list in December. The measures were later extended to 14 February.

Under the current contact rules which will stay in place, households are allowed to meet with one other person. The government has urged people to reduce contact to the minimum.

A YouGov poll this week showed that just half of Germans wanted current measures to be maintained or tightened, down from 65% in early January.

 

More on this subject: Coronavirus

Similar articles

  • Volcano erupts on Spanish Canary Island

    Volcano erupts on Spanish Canary Island

    A volcano erupted on Sunday on the La Palma Canary Island. As a result of the eruption in the Cumbre Vieja national park in the south of the island huge fountains of lava and clouds of smoke and ash were released. No fatalities have been reported so far.

    37
  • Vaccination surges as Italy makes it mandatory for workers

    Vaccination surges as Italy makes it mandatory for workers

    The bookings for Covid-19 vaccinations surged in Italy after the government made inoculation mandatory for all workers both in public and private sectors in some of the toughest measures adopted worldwide. The number of people booking appointments more than doubled on daily basis over the weekend, Reuters elaborated.

    46
  • Kaczynski: Primacy of EU laws ruins Poland’s sovereignty

    Kaczynski: Primacy of EU laws ruins Poland’s sovereignty

    Poland accused the EU of unacceptable interference in the country’s sovereignty. Warsaw further noted the EU was blackmailing Poland to pass primacy of the Union’s legislation over local laws by freezing massive funds envisaged to secure the restoration of the country from pandemic, Reuters elaborated. The ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski said in a letter quoted by state news agency that Warsaw will not bow under the pressure.

    80