Merkel takes over federal states to enforce Covid-19 measures

Photo: EPA Angela Merkel

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel is mulling plans to take control from local federal governments in a move to introduce further restrictions on regions with high numbers of new Covid-19 cases, Reuters reported. Merkel’s plans are in line with Germany’s attempts to curb a third wave of the pandemic. The federal government is due to introduce draft legislation next week.

This will include compulsory measures in regions with 100 or more new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over seven days. The numbers reached near 200 in late December, soon after Germany went from a “lockdown lite” that started in early November, during which schools and stores were open, to a full shutdown. It last stood at 110.4, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases. However, containment measures in Germany vary from region to region due to the country’s decentralized federal system.

In some regions, consumers can go shopping as long as they have a negative Covid-19 test, while stores are closed in others. Some, like Berlin, have introduced nighttime bans on gatherings, while others, like Saarland, have allowed restaurants and beer gardens to open outdoor seating. Merkel and several regional leaders have called for a short, sharp nationwide lockdown while the country tries to vaccinate more people.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 25,464 in a day on Friday, which was 3,576 more than a week earlier, data from the RKI showed. A meeting of Chancellor Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s 16 states scheduled for Monday, at which they were to discuss an extension to Covid-19 restrictions, has been cancelled, the government spokeswoman said.

German health minister Jens Spahn warned that nationwide measures were necessary to break the current wave of coronavirus infections as quickly as possible.

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