Sunday, 09 May, 2021


Germany to enter strict five-day shutdown over Easter: Chancellor Angela Merkel

`New pandemic`: Germany to enforce strict five-day shutdown over Easter German businesses say Easter lockdown will fuel bankruptcies
Melba Vasquez | 24 March, 2021, 18:22

Chancellor Angela Merkel and regional leaders have agreed to put Germany into hard lockdown over Easter to try to reverse a "third wave" of Covid-19 infections fuelled by faster-spreading mutations.

Germany on Monday is set to to tighten lockdown measures into mid-April, after it had progressively began easing restrictions, first reopening schools in late February, before allowing some shops to resume business in March. More than 3,000 people with COVID-19 are in intensive care. The government will ask churches to hold any Easter services online to avoid gatherings.

At the same time, Germany's criteria for assessing the virus situation overseas meant that a travel warning for parts of Spain was lifted earlier this month, prompting a much-criticised surge of bookings to the popular holiday island of Mallorca.

Europe's top economy will elect a new government in September, as Merkel is retiring after 16 years in power.

They agreed to meet again on April 12 to decide on how to proceed with the partial lockdown, which has effectively been in place for about four months, the person said.

"This mistake is my mistake alone", she told reporters.

The Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases said the number of cases per 100,000 population over a week stood at 107 on Monday, above the 100 threshold at which intensive care units will start running out of capacity.

Most lockdown restrictions are now due to last until 28 March.

He said new infections in Germany were rising at an "exponential rate" and that there wasn't enough vaccine to stop it.

"It is absolutely right that we are hitting the emergency brake", said Merkel.

On the thorny issue of holidays, some regional leaders had argued it made little sense to allow people to fly out to the Spanish island of Mallorca, which was taken off a risk list, while banning residents from taking overnight stays in their own state.

Berlin had also struck a deal with air carriers to ensure that all travellers returning to Germany would be tested, Merkel said. I support the President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen, who makes it very clear that when contracts that have been concluded with us are not fulfilled, the situation is of course different from when contracts are adhered to in full, and perhaps even more the European Union is delivered.

European officials are furious that AstraZeneca has been able to deliver its United Kingdom contract in full while falling short on its supplies to the EU.

Chancellor Angela Merkel takes responsibility, drops plans for a five-day shutdown in Germany over Easter that prompted confusion and criticism from the public and businesses.

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