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Merkel: ‘Germany Far Away from Target Values’, Corona Restrictions Prolonged

Germany has prolonged its Corona rules into the new year. They are now officially valid until January 10th, 2021. The reason is obvious.

Berlin, December 3rd, 2020 (The Berlin Spectator) — The Federal Republic of Germany’s Corona numbers are still far too high. Within the past 24 hours, 23,275 new Corona infections were reported, according to Johns Hopkins University. The Robert Koch Institute in Berlin counted 22,046 new cases.

High Numbers and Responsibility

Because the partial lockdown that was put in place in early November failed to bring the numbers down, a stricter version was imposed on Germany for December. Now it was prolonged at a meeting Chancellor Angela Merkel conducted with the First Ministers from Germany’s federal states. The existing rules apply until January 10th, 2021, and of course they might be prolonged further.

Germany was far away from its target values, Angela Merkel said after the meeting. The number of Corona-related deaths was very high. According to the Chancellor, the latest numbers show the kind of responsibility the federal government and those in the federal states have. She reiterated Germany’s goal, which is to bring the Seven Day Incidence Number down to 50. This number shows how many new infections there were per 100,000 inhabitants within the past seven days.

Restrictions Vary

Germany is preparing vaccination centers all over the country, in order to be ready to go once one or more vaccines are approved. Merkel said the approvals might be announced towards the end of this month. On Tuesday, her Health Minister Jens Spahn had said it would happen around New Year’s Eve.

What the Corona rules are concerned, some of the the sixteen federal states in Germany are interpreting them their way. The city state of Berlin already has a stricter version. In most regions, the restrictions are being eased from December 23rd to January 1st, in order to let families celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve with more members. Not in Berlin.

Söder vs. Schwesig

Bavaria’s First Minister Markus Söder announced stricter rules just after the meeting with Mrs. Merkel. On the other hand, his colleague from Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania, Manuela Schwesig, said her state might not prolong the restrictions as far as the rest of Germany. Like Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg has low Corona numbers, in comparison.

Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller confirmed some numbers in the German capital were finally decreasing. The Seven Day Incidence Number for Berlin just dropped below 200 for the first time in weeks. Müller said the boundary conditions for the vaccinations needed to be defined soon. He demanded uniform rules for the entire country.

Austria Limits Skiing Tourism

In Austria, one of Germany’s nine neighbors, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced a mandatory 10-day-quarantine for travelers who enter the country from high risk areas. After five days, affected persons can get out if they have a fresh and negative Corona test. This measure applies from mid-December to January 10th, 2021. That way, the government in Vienna wants to make sure the Corona infection numbers do not rise again.

Austria will also keep hotels and restaurants closed until January 7th, 2021. On December 24th, 2020, ski lifts will open. This will mainly benefit native skiers because, for Germans and citizens of other neighboring countries, the strict Corona rules sort of rule out skiing vacations in Austria.

Related article: December 2020: The New Corona Rules in Berlin and the Rest of Germany