North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Armin Laschet insisted on Friday that trade be closed “as soon as possible” by January 10th. Hamster purchases and overcrowded shops in the period before should be excluded, he said in Düsseldorf. The attendance requirement for schools will end on Monday for the time being. According to Laschet, the school holidays will be extended by two days.
Schleswig-Holstein’s Prime Minister Daniel Günther announced a tightening of the contact restrictions in the Kiel state parliament on Friday. Instead of a maximum of ten people, a maximum of five people from two households should be able to meet. This also applies to Christmas, with the exception of only the closest family. In Schleswig-Holstein’s schools there will be no face-to-face classes from Monday onwards. It is recommended that students in the lower grades stay at home.
On Thursday, some prime ministers had spoken out in favor of further tightening. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig (SPD) called for the retail trade to be closed for the fourth time in Advent. Your Saarland counterpart Tobias Hans (CDU) said he was also in favor of a hard lockdown. The administrative district of Berlin is also planning significant restrictions for the retail trade and schools to contain the corona pandemic. The governing mayor Michael Müller (SPD) announced this on Thursday in the Berlin House of Representatives.
In the meantime, the Federal Government and the Prime Minister are pressing ahead with preparations for stricter nationwide measures at high speed. According to information from Süddeutsche Zeitung Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder and Berlin’s Governing Mayor Müller are in close contact with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz. According to the state government of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the top-level discussion should take place on Sunday.
The planned strict restrictions are to be flanked by further economic aid. According to this, all sectors that are affected – such as retail stores that would have to close – should receive financial support. As further announced in Berlin, consideration is also being given to providing financial support to the Free State of Saxony. Saxony has already imposed a nationwide hard shutdown.
Seehofer and Baerbock are calling for a lockdown before Christmas
Not only several prime ministers are calling for a quick lockdown. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) also thinks it is wrong to wait until after Christmas with stricter corona measures. In an interview with the Spiegel he called for an immediate lockdown on Friday. This is the “only chance to regain control of the situation,” said the CSU politician. You will still have to deal with high numbers of infections for months afterwards if you should wait until the holidays with the stricter measures. He was upset that Germany had now gambled away the advantage it had fought for itself in the spring in the pandemic. Responsible for the current infection rate are primarily the inadequate measures and not a lack of discipline on the part of the citizens.
Green leader Annalena Baerbock is also calling for a much tougher lockdown from next week. She told the German Press Agency on Friday: “We should start a clear Christmas break, now. We have to break the dynamics of the infection process.” Shops except those for daily needs should be closed, schools should switch to distance learning from grade 7, said the Green politician.
Maximum values for new infections and deaths
The number of new corona infections and deaths reported to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within one day has reached a high. The health authorities transmitted 29 875 new infections within 24 hours, according to the numbers from Friday morning. That is over 6,000 more than the day before, when a maximum of 23,679 cases was also reached. In addition, the RKI reported on Friday with 598 new deaths, the second high in a short time. The highest daily number of 590 deaths was reached on Wednesday.
The number of daily deaths had tended to go up recently, which was expected after the steep increase in new infections. The total number of people who died with or with a proven infection with Sars-CoV-2 rose to 20,970.
In total, the RKI has counted 1,272,078 detected infections with Sars-CoV-2 in Germany since the beginning of the pandemic (as of December 10th, 00:00). It is estimated that around 942 100 people have now recovered.
According to the RKI management report on Thursday, the nationwide seven-day R-value was 1.03 (previous day: 0.99). This means that 100 infected people theoretically infect 103 more people. The value has fluctuated around 1.0 for a few weeks and represents the infection process eight to 16 days ago. If it is below 1.0 for a long time, the infection process subsides.
Baden-Württemberg will go into lockdown after Christmas
Baden-Württemberg wants to continue shutting down public life in the state because of the unchecked increase in corona infections. For the period after Christmas until at least January 10th in the lockdown, Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) announced a lockdown on Friday. However, if no nationwide solution can be found, a joint solution with the neighboring states of Baden-Württemberg will be sought if necessary, said Kretschmann.
On Thursday, the green-black state government negotiated with the municipal umbrella organizations about stricter measures. Among other things, a night curfew and exit restrictions during the day are planned at the beginning of next week, as reported by the German press agency. Those who leave the house during the day should only do so with a valid reason, such as for work.
The cabinet plans to announce the new editions at a press conference this Friday at 12 noon. With this, Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann is anticipating a possible agreement with the state heads of government and the Chancellor.
RKI boss Wieler on the corona situation: “That is worrying”
The current increase in the number of infections is “worrying,” said RKI boss Lothar Wieler at a press conference. “The infection process can quickly turn over again. The number of cases can quickly increase again exponentially. A few additional cases are sufficient for this.” The contact reduction due to the current restrictions is simply not enough so far. The current measures have resulted in a contact reduction of around 40 percent. But 60 percent are necessary. “If that doesn’t work, then I don’t see any other option,” said Wieler when asked about a hard lockdown.
In some regions it is apparently better than in others to prevent new infections, said Wieler. The situation is particularly worrying in the eastern German states of Saxony and Thuringia, but also in Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt, said Ute Rexroth, head of the RKI situation center.
In contrast to the summer, there are currently no longer mainly individual large outbreaks, but rather a “diffuse occurrence”. According to the RKI, there are roughly twice as many outbreaks in old people’s and nursing homes compared to spring. That is why it is important to limit the virus by reducing contact between people.
Wieler said antibody studies suggested that around one in seven people in some hotspots had already been infected with the virus. But when it comes to the general population, it is different. “We have to assume that on average only a few percent of the population are infected.” About 1.5 percent have tested positive. Even with an unreported figure, the value is certainly in the single-digit range.