Germany Merkel, state leaders reflect on tougher virus rules

BERLIN (AP) – Chancellor Angela Merkel is holding a virtual meeting on Tuesday with the governors of Germany’s 16 states to discuss the country’s pandemic measures, fearing that further mutations in the coronavirus could trigger a further rise in cases.

The country’s infection rate has stabilized in recent days, indicating that existing restrictions may have been effective in pushing the numbers down. The country’s center for disease control on Tuesday reported 11,369 new viral infections and 891 new deaths, for an overall death toll of 47,622.

The government tightened the country’s lockdown from early January until the end of the month. However, rising infections in Britain and Ireland, believed to be caused by a more contagious variant of the virus, have raised concerns among experts that the mutation could also spread rapidly in Germany if measures are not extended or even stepped up. . Therefore, Merkel and state governments are meeting earlier than planned to consider tougher rules.

While restaurants, most stores and schools have already been closed and these closures are likely to be extended, there is also talk of possible nighttime curfews, an obligation to wear FFP2 or KN95 masks. more efficient in public transport, and an effort to attract more people. work from home to avoid infections caused by the office.

Medical staff have demanded an extension or tightening of the lockdown as many hospitals are still on the cutting edge, with intensive care wards overflowing in some areas.

“The current measures to limit social contact appear to be having an effect,” Susanne Johna, head of the Marburger Bund doctors’ association, told the dpa news agency, adding that the measures should continue to be respected to further reduce new infections.

“We urgently need more help,” Johna said.


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