Speaking in the German parliament on Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the nationwide sanctions introduced on November 2 had not been adequately demonstrated and that many were now dead or in intensive care units with Govt-19.
A day after the country recorded 590 deaths, Merkel became emotional as she appealed to fellow Germans to keep each other safe by reducing their social contact before the holidays, especially if they plan to visit the elderly.
“If we had more contact now before Christmas and it turns out to be the last Christmas with grandparents, we would have failed and we shouldn’t have done it,” he said at a budget session in Bundestock.
The Chancellor said the daily death toll is too high for some stores to open, including the much-loved waffle and malt wine stands during the festive season. “There are still 14 days until Christmas to come and we have to do everything we can to stop the rapid growth again,” he said.
Merkel insisted that the Christmas holidays begin soon on December 16th instead of December 19th.
The Chancellor also wants a full lockdown to be implemented two days after Christmas to reduce infection rates. But for that to happen, he must add the heads of 16 states to the page.
As Europe’s second wave of corona virus infections accumulated in the fall, some European countries – such as France and the United Kingdom – imposed national locking measures. However, German state and federal leaders agreed to lighter restrictions.
A nationwide area lockdown was imposed, which meant restaurants and bars had to be closed, but schools and shops remained open. People were urged to avoid travel, to keep their contacts to a minimum, and to hold public meetings in no more than five members in two different houses.
These restrictions are to be relaxed at Christmas time in most parts of the country, allowing children to meet in groups of up to 10 without counting.
Some states, such as Bavaria, support drastic measures, while others oppose them. Meanwhile, Germany is struggling to control the rise of new epidemics, and mortality rates continue to rise.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said on Wednesday that the epidemic had killed 590 people on Tuesday, the worst day in the country. The country’s disease and control agency, RKI, said on December 2 that the previous record was 487 known deaths.
The RKI also reported 20,815 new daily infections on Wednesday, 3,500 more than the same day of the previous week. The total number of Govt-19 infections in the country is now 1,218,524.
At least 19,932 people have died of Govt-19 in Germany, according to the Public Health Agency. This figure is much lower than fellow European countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain, which reflects Germany’s success in dealing with the first epidemic.
Health Minister: ‘It can’t go on like this’
Mandel said that although the country could see “light at the end of the tunnel” thanks to advances in the Gondit-19 vaccine, Germany was detecting second waves rather than first waves.
He called on state leaders to support drastic measures, saying it was wrong for hotels to be open during the Christmas season because it would encourage relatives to travel overnight.
“I think it’s right at this time to close schools by extending them to January 10 or by doing digital lessons, but we need fewer contacts,” Merkel said.
Health Minister Jens Spann reiterated in an interview with ARD TV on Tuesday: “High costs, high mortality, high difficulty in our intensive care units. It can not go on like this. We need to take care of each other – although some do not want to hear it anymore.”
The head of Germany’s Intensive Care Medicine (TVI) on Wednesday urged people not to see their loved ones during the holidays.
“At that point you all get together for Christmas and say it’s all under control,” TV chief Uwe Johnson said in an interview with CNN affiliate N-TV. “Then seven days later, your grandmother has a high fever, and after another seven days she is transferred to the ICU. Three more days later, she is dead. Maybe your eyes will open, but, unfortunately, it’s too late to be.”
‘Heart Lock Down’ in Saxony
Many German countries have already decided to tighten controls in an attempt to curb the corona virus situation.
The state of Saxony in southeastern Germany will call what officials there call a “hard lock” next week, closing most stores and moving schools to online classes.
Bavaria, which has the highest number of corona virus infections, also agreed on Tuesday about tight locking restrictions. Its governor, Marcus Soder, delivered an emotional speech in Bavaria’s state parliament, criticizing the people for reducing the high death toll.
“I think it’s very worrying and very outrageous if the reaction is a contraction of the shoulders. The death toll is not just statistics,” he said. “Sure it’s mostly old people, but we’re talking about our parents and grandparents. How can some people be so heartless and cold when it comes to talking about this thing?”
His comments have come against a backdrop of suspicion in some parts of German society. There have been protests against the country’s anti-epidemic measures, with many protesters denying the severity of the virus.
Laura Smith-Spark from London writes to CNN’s Frederick Blitzgen from Berlin and Stephanie Halas from London.