German Chancellor Angela Merkel wears a protective face mask as she leaves after speaking to the media at her annual summer press conference during the coronavirus pandemic on August 28, 2020 in Berlin, Germany.
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Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged to avoid another complete national lockdown as coronavirus infections began to rise again in Germany.
Like its European neighbors, Germany was not spared a second wave of the virus after reopening the region’s economies over the summer. Although so far it has not seen an increase in cases such as France, Spain and the United Kingdom
Germany did not perform badly on the first outbreak of the Coronavirus compared to its neighbors, as it managed to reduce deaths (there are still fewer than 10,000 – far fewer than the UK, Italy, France and Spain). But officials are not satisfied with the second wave of cases.
“We want to move regionally, specifically and purposefully, instead of closing the entire country again,” Merkel told a news conference on Tuesday after meeting with leaders of the region, Deutsche Welle said.
“We learned a lot and did a good job throughout the summer,” Merkel said, but she warned that the increased cases before fall and winter are worrisome.
And she warned that with the current rate of infection, Germany could see more than 19,000 cases per day by the end of the year as it announced new restrictions, and reiterated current directives on social distancing and personal hygiene, as well as strengthening the country. Test and trace system.
“The basic strategy remains to keep infections low enough so that infection chains can still be traced, which is vital if schools and the economy remain open,” said Greg Fauzisi, a euro-zone economist at JPMorgan on Tuesday.
He pointed out that the strategy includes “three elements”: refocusing on the existing rules of hygiene and divergence, the testing and tracking system, and strengthening the “hotspot strategy”.
As part of the latter, regions will have to limit the number of people allowed at private parties (to 50) if infections exceed 35 per 100,000 inhabitants over the course of seven days. If the infection exceeds 50 per 100,000 inhabitants, then only 25 people will be allowed to meet on special occasions. Individuals can also be fined € 50 ($ 58) if they provide false contact information, required for tracing purposes, at restaurants and other indoor establishments.
Particular attention is given to community spread in Germany, with the Public Health Authority, the Robert Koch Institute, noting that religious or family events, such as weddings, as well as nursing homes and community facilities, have been sources for outbreak groups, in addition to returning travelers. With this background, Germany is enhancing its testing strategy to include rapid tests in specific situations, such as those for returning travelers.
Along with its European counterparts, Germany is reluctant to return to any national lockdown that could lead to further economic damage in the long run. Until now, European countries have opted for very regional or local closures, for example in parts of northern England and Madrid in Spain, or early closures of hospitality venues and restrictions on social gatherings.
Berenberg’s chief economist Holger Schmidding indicated on Wednesday that there are hopes that such behavioral changes, such as a commitment to wearing face masks and more discipline in social distancing, along with more targeted restrictions “will be enough to turn the tide against the virus and prevent overburdening.” The burden on health systems on a large scale could force countries to impose tougher lockdowns again.
He pointed out that “the new wave of regional and targeted measures in most of Europe restricts social activity rather than the ability to work and shop.”