- She asked citizens to make additional sacrifices during the Christmas holiday season to halt the spread of the pandemic.
- With an eye on Christmas, when families are expected to gather, Chancellor Merkel said people have a responsibility to significantly reduce social contact.
- Several federal states have begun to implement new restrictions over and above the generally agreed ones.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the Bundestag on Wednesday and asked for further restrictions in the country to halt the rampant spread of coronavirus. Chancellor Merkel is in full support of the idea of closing shops between Christmas and early January next year.
She asked citizens to make additional sacrifices during the Christmas holiday season to halt the spread of the pandemic.
“When mulled wine stands are being built, when waffle stands are being built, that’s not compatible with what we had agreed of only takeaways for food and drinks,” the German chancellor said, in an emotional speech to the Bundestag.
“I am really sorry . . . but if we’re paying the price of death tolls at 590 people daily then that’s, in my view, not acceptable.”
Chancellor Merkel has considered that the recommendations of the German Academy of Sciences, which advocate that tough rules must be taken seriously. Amongst others, the recommendations advocate for the closure of schools, to totally reduce even minimum contacts.
Imploring the nation’s citizens to abide by the experts’ advice, Chancellor Merkel said people could not pick and choose when to accept the science.
“What I am very sure about is that one can overturn many things, but not gravity, speed of light, and other facts,” said Merkel, herself a trained physicist. “Because the numbers are what they are, we must do something about them.”
With an eye on Christmas, when families are expected to gather, Chancellor Merkel said people have a responsibility to significantly reduce social contact.
“If we have too many contacts before Christmas and it ends up being the last Christmas with the grandparents, then we’d really have failed. We should not do this,” said the Chancellor. It is “a little inhuman” to distance oneself from other people, she acknowledged. However, she said that is not something “that totally destroys our lives.”
Chancellor Merkel nonetheless said that there is “light at the end of the tunnel,” owing to the many vaccines against COVID-19 already about to be authorized in the European Union (EU).
However, she has also recalled that Germany is currently in the “decisive phase” of the pandemic, in a second wave “much more demanding than the first.” Historical experience warns that the second wave can be “very painful.”
Infection Curve on the Rise
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s leading epidemiological center, reported 20,815 new infections this Wednesday.
That’s 3,000 more than on Wednesday of last week, but below the maximum of 23,648 on November 20.
The total number of infected in Germany thus rises to 1,218,524, of which 19,932 have died.
The declared objective of the German government is to reduce the cumulative incidence to seven days to 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
It is only below that threshold that new cases can be tracked and the chains of contagion be broken, putting the pandemic under control.
Given the difficulties in stopping the spread of the coronavirus, several federal states have begun to implement new restrictions over and above the generally agreed ones. Chancellor Merkel has, on her part, consistently been urging for more radical decisions for weeks.