Germany: Lockdown is to be Extended to March 14th

Tthe Chancellery proposes an extension of the lockdown until March 14th. School openings are left to the federal states. It is disputed when the next opening step can take place.

The Federal Chancellery wants to extend the corona lockdown until March 14th in Germany. This emerges from an updated draft resolution for the consultations with the countries on Wednesday afternoon, which the F.A.Z. present. Hairdressers should be allowed to reopen from March 1st, subject to conditions, but no date has yet been given for the opening of the retail trade. The federal states should decide for themselves whether to open schools and daycare centers.

In the afternoon, the heads of government of the federal states will discuss the next steps in corona policy with Chancellor Angela Merkel. It is expected that the top round will once again extend the lockdown measures that have been limited to February 14th.

In the past few days, several federal states had presented step-by-step plans that should serve as the basis for the debate on easing prospects. Not only the incidence value was used as a guideline, but also other factors such as the occupancy of intensive care beds or the R value.

Nationwide, the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days fell below the mark of 70 for the first time in months, namely to 68, as the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced on Wednesday. Just before Christmas, the high had been 197.6. The stated goal is a nationwide level of less than 50 so that local health authorities can track infection chains again. Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) had recently reminded that the 50 threshold was actually a “critical mark” for necessary tougher countermeasures; a level of 49.8 is not without problems.

The German health authorities reported 8072 new corona infections to the RKI within one day. In addition, 813 new deaths were recorded within 24 hours, according to figures from the RKI on Wednesday morning. These current numbers should also include 600 late reports of new infections from North Rhine-Westphalia, which, according to the RKI, were missing the day before. Exactly one week ago, the RKI had recorded 9705 new infections and 975 new deaths within 24 hours.

Mutated variants of the virus, which are considered to be much more contagious, are also spreading in Germany. An extension of the lockdown is often justified with the danger of the mutations. City Council President Burkhard Jung said in the “Rheinische Post” about his call for an extension: “It is still too uncertain how the mutations of the coronavirus will spread and what can stop them”. The concern in Germany currently applies in particular to variant B.1.1.7, which was first discovered in Great Britain.

 

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