Germany, Struggling with Increasing Cases, Looks at a Stricter Lockdown

By Kurt Stolz on 12 April 2021
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Schloß Nymphenburg in Munich

Even as Britons were out in pubs celebrating the end of their months-long and third lockdown, the Germany government said it was considering a more strict lockdown as the number of new daily coronavirus cases resumed their recent upward trend after a brief lull around the Easter holidays.

The Robert Koch Institut said that there had been 13,245 new cases on Sunday in the country, an increase of 1,049 compared to 12,196 one week earlier.

The recent increase has set off a prolonged national debate by politicians on how to respond.

Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel wants a national approach, while the Ministerpräsidenten of the country’s 16 Länder want a more patchwork approach that would allow for reopenings in areas where hospitals are not overwhelmed by new cases.

Merkel wants to amend Germany’s law governing how pandemics are managed in order to give the federal government more control.

Germany’s halting rollout of its virus campaign – only 16% of Germans have received their first inoculation since the program launched at the end of 2020, compared to 17% of those in neighboring Austria, 56% in the United States, and 60% in the United Kingdom – and only 6.1 % of Germans are fully vaccinated, compared to 7.1% in Austria, 22% in the United States, and 11% in the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, scientists are criticizing the country’s focus on requiring masks while engaging in outdoor activities such as running, urging officials to focus on reducing contacts indoors instead.

“The ongoing debates about strolling along river promenades, spending time in beer gardens, jogging or biking have long since proven counterproductive,” the Gesellschaft für Aerosolforschung, or Society for Aerosol Research, said in a letter. “If our citizens consider all forms of interpersonal contacts as dangerous, we paradoxically reinforce the pandemic fatigue that is evident everywhere. Nothing dulls us more than a permanent state of alarm.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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