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Germany: Is the Partial Lockdown Strict Enough?

Because of the rising infection numbers, German politicians are asking themselves whether the semi-lockdown they agreed to can achieve what it was put in place for. Chancellor Merkel’s next big Corona meeting is scheduled for Monday.

Because of a reporting delay, there was a glimmer of hope on Tuesday. By now, the numbers are back where they were. According to Johns Hopkins University, 22,401 new Corona infections were reported in Germany in the past 24 hours. The Robert Koch Institute’s number is 21,866. Since yesterday, 215 people died of COVID-19. The ongoing partial lockdown was supposed to bring the numbers down. So far, after 12 days, it has not.

Measure Not Working Well

This is not a complete lockdown because the government and the federal states wanted to keep retail businesses and the schools open. Nobody really knew, but the latter part may not have been the right decision, in spite of the importance of education in general, and of giving children and adolescents the opportunity to meet and move around in this crisis.

Not only are 300,000 schoolkids in quarantine, as ‘Bild’ reported on Wednesday, but the teaching schedules in 3,000 schools in Germany are disrupted because of Corona, according to media published by ‘Funke Mediengruppe’. In short: Things at schools are not working as well as the government hoped they would. What Angela Merkel and the First Ministers from the federal states will do about it, if anything, remains to be seen.

Curfews are Option

They might still keep Germany’s 40,000 schools open, hoping the trend will reverse itself. Or they might come to the conclusion that the experiment failed. There are 800,000 teachers and 11 million pupils at Germany’s schools. Prolonging the upcoming Christmas vacations is already being discussed. But what would happen afterwards, in January? The COVID-19 vaccine is at least several months away. Curfews are an option.

At Germany’s hospitals, the number of Corona patients, including those who need to be treated at ICUs, is still increasing. According to a study conducted by the University of Saarland, the intensive care units in some of Germany’s federal states will be overcrowded even if the partial lockdown suddenly becomes successful.

Germany has the Means Needed

To the government, not overburdening the health system, and in particular the ICUs, is a high priority goal. Will other priorities, such as keeping the schools and retail businesses open, have to be dumped in order to improve the situation at hospitals? It is unclear, but nothing should be ruled out at this stage.

Apparently, Germany still has the funds to support businesses and individuals hit hard by the crisis and the ongoing lockdown. Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told the ‘Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland’, this country had the financial power it needed to keep control of the pandemic and to cushion its economical ramifications this year and next.