Angela Merkel calls for national lockdown to curb Germany’s coronavirus crisis
- Angela Merkel today backed regional leaders’ calls for short, sharp lockdown
- Comes amid third wave with Germany battling average of 15,000 cases per day
- ‘Every call for a short, uniform lockdown is right,’ Merkel’s spokeswoman said
- She added that the country was struggling with rising numbers of ICU patients
Angela Merkel has called for a ‘short national lockdown’ to curb Germany’s coronavirus crisis.
The country is struggling to tackle a third wave of the pandemic and recorded an average of 15,000 cases every day for the last week – the fifth highest infection rate in Europe.
Chancellor Merkel’s spokeswoman today announced her boss was backing calls from several federal leaders for a short, sharp lockdown as the country tries to vaccinate as many people as it can.
It comes just two weeks after Merkel made a humiliating apology for the ‘mistake’ of trying to impose a five-day Easter lockdown and asking for the public to forgive her.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a cabinet meeting in Berlin last week
The Christian Democrat leader was forced to beat a swift retreat after she prompted uproar with her plan to close all shops from April 1 to April 5, Easter Monday.
But today, her spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer told reporters that Germany had a rising number of intensive care patients and that ‘every call for a short, uniform lockdown is right.’
‘We need a stable incidence below 100,’ she said, referring to the number of cases over seven days per 100,000 inhabitants.
The incidence rate is currently 110.1, according to the Robert Koch Institute.
At their last meeting in March, Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s 16 states agreed national rules including strict shutdowns and possible curfews in areas with more than 100 new infections per 100,000 people over seven days.
But under Germany’s federal system, each state can ultimately decide its own rules.
Some have failed to impose more restrictions in the face of more cases and even gone ahead with reopening measures.
The patchwork of rules ‘is not contributing to security and acceptance at the moment,’ Demmer told reporters.
‘The health system is under intense pressure,’ she said, noting a five percent increase in occupied intensive care beds in just 24 hours.
Voices calling for a short, sharp shutdown in recent days have included Armin Laschet, the head of Merkel’s CDU party, who called for a ‘bridge lockdown’ to tide the country over until more people have been vaccinated.
Merkel and the regional leaders are next due to meet on Monday.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 9,677 on Wednesday to more than 2.9 million, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases said.
It has warned that the numbers may not yet show the full picture as not all cases were registered over Easter. Some 77,401 people have died.