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  • Germany is extending its coronavirus shut down by three weeks until March the 28th.

  • But some restrictions will be eased to allow non essential stores and other businesses to reopen in areas with relatively low infection rates now.

  • Chancellor Merkel announced the plan after talks with state leaders continued well into the night.

  • They agreed new measures intended to offer a glimmer of hope that life will soon return to some kind of normal.

  • The talks between regional leaders and Chancellor Angela Merkel stretched into the night with state premiers having to negotiate a number of details.

  • But when Merkel finally emerged, she had an optimistic message for the German public despite announcing the lockdowns extension until later this month.

  • We are at the threshold of a new phase of the pandemic will.

  • It's a phase which we can't go into carelessly, but I think it's important to say with justified hope half long gone, the leaders agreed to a step by step reopening strategy for businesses, schools and public spaces with emergency brakes built in.

  • Each new step will require infection rates to remain low less than 50 cases per 100,000 people over a seven day period.

  • If infection numbers begin to spike, then the measures will quickly be reversed.

  • However, contact restrictions between households will be slightly eased as of next week.

  • The reopening strategy also focuses on vaccinations and mass testing.

  • Jabs will soon be available at many family doctors to try and boost vaccination numbers, and starting next Monday, people in Germany will get access to one free, rapid test a week.

  • Merkel said the regional leaders understood the public's desire for anomalous e, but stressed optimism shouldn't come without caution.

  • It's our job now to make sure that the next steps we take our smart ones, these steps should allow us to open up a bit more.

  • But at the same time, they shouldn't set us back months in.

  • This pandemic needs a week to offer.

  • And often, with elections looming and public pressure growing, regional leaders want to curb restrictions quickly.

  • But they also want to avoid having to potentially return to yet another lockdown and political correspondent Nina has a is standing by Nina.

  • Some commentators are calling this a change in strategy.

  • Is it well if you look at the situation.

  • Germany has been in lockdown since mid December since before Christmas.

  • And the goal was always, of course, to bring public life to stand still so that you could bring down the number of new infections so that the health system can cope.

  • Because we did have an extremely difficult situation in the hospitals around Christmas and that strategy did seem to work.

  • The numbers went down, but then the new variants started arriving and so Germany stayed in lockdown.

  • But the numbers have started rising slowly and so impatient in the population has been growing over the last few weeks.

  • And so Angela Merkel has had to concede that now the pressure is so high to open up and to change that strategy because you can't have that solution of only ever extending lockdowns again if that because strategy is clearly coming to an end.

  • And so many of the state leaders insisted that they think that the health system can still cope, even if we have slightly higher numbers than the ones that Merkel wants it because we just need to put more effort into speeding up the vaccination process and into being a really quick when it comes to the national testing strategy and tell us.

  • You know what this is now going to mean in practical terms, when it comes to day to day life?

  • Well, if you look at the graph, it is very complicated.

  • So essentially as a normal German or as a person living in Germany, you will need to know where your local area stands in terms of numbers of new infections.

  • And depending on that number, you're regional government can then make decisions over the next few weeks which areas can open, at which speed.

  • So if you take the example of Berlin where we are here, for example, and I will have to look at my paper because it is extremely difficult.

  • So Berlin is at the moment at a number that is 100 new lower than 100 new infections per 100,000 people in one week.

  • And that means that from next week onwards our regional government can open museums, for example, and then we need to wait for two weeks until the government here in Berlin can decide on the next step because they, of course, need to check whether that decision has infected the new infection numbers.

  • And so if that number stays under 100 Berlin can open theaters and allow for outdoor dining.

  • If people can provide a negative test result, wait another two weeks and we're still below 100.

  • Assuming then Berlin can open shops with only a limited number of people inside.

  • So it is very complicated.

  • You will need to look at your figures.

  • The vaccination roll out, we have to say, has been bumpy.

  • To put it mildly, tell us whether or not you know, Merkel has discussed this, um and and also, uh, the rapid test roll out.

  • How is that supposed to go?

  • Well, I have to say that our health Minister, Jens Spahn, is not looking good.

  • The opposition parties are already calling for him to resign because the vaccination process you said it has been extremely sluggish and also when it comes to testing.

  • Now the government has promised that Germans will be getting a rapid test per week from next week onwards.

  • But if you look at our neighboring country Austria, for example, they've been giving out these tests for free to the population since mid December, and this is when they were approved.

  • So here in Germany, it's a very complicated mix of responsibilities, but it is going to be very, very crucial for Jens Spahn to speed up the process and to come up with a proper national testing strategy so that he doesn't look as bad as he did in the vaccine rollout.

  • DWS Nina has it in Berlin.

  • Thank you.

Germany is extending its coronavirus shut down by three weeks until March the 28th.

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Germany extends coronavirus lockdown with a new strategy

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/04
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