Merkel seeks Covid-19 restrictions extension in Germany into April

Merkel seeks Covid-19 restrictions extension in Germany into April
Merkel seeks Covid-19 restrictions extension in Germany into April

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - German Chancellor Angela Merkel briefs the media about measures to avoid further spread of the coronavirus disease after a government meeting at the chancellery in Berlin April 20, 2020. ― Reuters pic

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FRANKFURT, March 21 — Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking to extend Germany’s partial lockdown into April as the country battles a third wave of the virus, according to a draft seen by AFP on today.

The restrictions would be prolonged until a yet-to-be-determined date in April due to the high rate of infections at present, which are being “accelerated by Covid-19 variants”, the document said.

The draft is due to be discussed by Merkel and regional leaders of Germany’s 16 states tomorrow.

Current restrictions are set to last until the end of March. 

With the rate of infections fast rising again, health authorities have warned against further easing any restrictions.

The incidence rate today reached 103.9 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the Robert Koch institute disease control centre.

Breaking that 100 per 100,000 marker is in principle meant to trigger new restrictions.

The document from the Chancellor’s office stipulates that contacts inside buildings “must be avoided where possible because of the increased risk of infection”. 

While many workers in businesses can work from home, for those who have to got to their workplace “at least two rapid (Covid) tests a week” should be indispensable, it says.

The plan also moots the possibility for regions “opening individual spaces to the public”, but requiring negative Covid tests and contact tracing for users.

Cross-border travel should be limited to the strict minimum and combined with quarantine requirements and a negative test before any return to Germany.

On Wednesday’s, Merkel’s administration urged Germans to be responsible during the pandemic and not to travel to the popular Spanish island of Mallorca over the Easter break, even as airlines have piled on hundreds of flights to meet surging demand. — AFP

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