Germany to impose strict lockdown over Easter period
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced the introduction of a strict 5-day lock down in a bid to slow the spread of the B117 variant of Covid-19 in the country. Agreement on the new measures was reached during a video conference between Chancellor Merkel and the heads of Government of the federal states.
Announcing the new measures, Chancellor Merkel said that case numbers across Germany are rising exponentially – primarily due to a surge in the more contagious virus variant B117.
‘The situation is serious,’ she said. ‘Case numbers are rising exponentially and intensive care beds are filling up again.’
Referring to the more contagious variant of the virus, she said, ‘Essentially, we have a new virus … it is much deadlier, much more infectious and infectious for much longer.’
The decision was reached to declare Thursday April 1st and Easter Saturday, April 3rd days of rest, meaning the principle of ‘we stay at home’ will extend over the 5-day Easter period in a bid to bring the number of new infections under control.
An ‘emergency brake’ which federal and state governments had previously agreed on implementing should infection rates continue to rise, is now to be introduced in a bid to halt the spread of the disease. This means that if the 7-day incidence in a state or region rises above 100 for three consecutive days, stricter contact restrictions that applied until March 7 will come into force. As a result, private contacts must again be limited to one person outside the home. Openings of retail outlets, museums, zoos and sports facilities must also be reversed.
The latest round of lockdowns was announced in Germany as countries across Europe struggle to deal with the third wave of the virus. The number of new Covid cases continues to rise in France despite the introduction of new lockdown measures over the weekend, with the number of patients in intensive care at a 4-month high.
The Czech Republic is now suffering from the world’s highest per capita death rate from the disease while in Italy all regions are now operating in either the red or orange zone classifications for regional restrictions, as the cases of Covid have increased for the seventh week in a row with hospitals across the country reaching capacity.
Meanwhile, EU leaders are due to meet via video conference tomorrow to discuss the currant vaccine situation and the rise in cases across the EU.