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German Counties with Many New Corona Infections Refuse to Go into Lockdown

When Chancellor Angela Merkel gave the Corona matter back into the hands of the federal states last week, she insisted on a mechanism for counties with soaring Corona numbers. It is not working.

Germany’s sixteen federal states are opening up. Even restaurants may welcome guests again under certain conditions. Most retail businesses have reopened. Germany’s city centers almost look like they did before the Corona crisis hit.

Insurance Policy Against Second Wave

The easing of many Corona restrictions was agreed on by Angela Merkel and the First Ministers last Wednesday. Because the federal states will be taking decisions about Corona rules on their own again, the Chancellor wanted an automatic mechanism for counties or towns in which the number of new Corona cases rises faster than they should.

Last week’s agreement says counties which register more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week need to put restrictions back in place, meaning they should be on lockdown again until the numbers drop. This approach was supposed to be an insurance policy against a new Coronavirus wave.

Five Places Exceed Maximum

While the theory sounded convincing to many Germans, the practical part does not seem to be working. In several German counties, the maximum numbers were already exceeded. But the authorities on site partially refuse to act. Others seem to be procrastinating.

  • Greiz county in Thuringia reported more than 75 new Corona infections per 100,000 inhabitants. The commissioner in charge, Martina Schweinsburg, refuses to impose new restrictions on the residents anyway. “Our county will not be in quarantine”, she stated. The center of the outbreak was in the south of the county, she explained, where care facilities were affected. Therefore restrictions needed to apply there only.
  • The Bavarian city of Rosenheim is one of Germany’s Coronavirus hotspots. According to the Bavarian health authorities, Rosenheim exceeded the maximum on May 7th and on May 10th, 2020. It is unclear whether new restrictions will apply. The municipality says, the high numbers had to do with Corona cases in a shelter for asylum seekers in which everyone had been tested.
  • Sonneberg county, another region in Thuringia, exceeded the maximum values as well. On Sunday, more than 66 new Corona infections per 100,000 inhabitants were reported. In German-language media, an official was quoted saying the situation would be monitored intensively. A decision about possible stricter measures is supposed to be taken later.

Virus Reproduction Rate Rises

There are two more Corona hotspots, namely Coesfeld in North Rhine-Westphalia and Steinburg in Schleswig-Holstein.

And there are more bad news. In Berlin, the Robert Koch Institute, which is the government agency for disease control, announced the Coronavirus reproduction rate had reached 1.13. This rate shows how many people infected individuals pass the virus on to, on average.

As long as the reproduction rate is above 1, the Coronavirus is spreading further. When the number is below 1, the number of Corona cases decreases.

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