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  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel says her country could again go into lockdown if Corona virus case numbers continue to rise.

  • A decision could come as soon as Monday.

  • She was speaking after a virtual summit on the country's troubled vaccination program.

  • National and regional leaders agreed measures to speed things up, but anger is growing another rebirth for a German icon.

  • Berlin's Tempelhof airport was used to bring in food to the city's west during the Cold War.

  • After closure, it housed refugees during the 2015 crisis and now it's being used as a massive vaccination center.

  • Those who are here to get a shot have to show proof they're eligible.

  • I'm a teacher and I received an invitation today.

  • I've been waiting for this and I came here immediately.

  • But until now, that teacher is one of relatively few Germans to be vaccinated.

  • The country has been facing vaccine shortages since it launched its program in December.

  • So far, only priority groups such as the elderly have received a job.

  • But the government says it's expecting vaccine supplies to increase from April on allowing mass vaccination to begin.

  • We want to vaccinate as many people as we can as quickly and flexibly as possible in the second quarter of 2021 in Germany.

  • Our slogan vaccinate, vaccinate and then vaccinate some more.

  • Under the plans, family doctors will be sent vaccine doses and allowed to decide which of their patients are most in need of protection against Covid, 19, and areas along the country's borders with France and the Czech Republic will receive more doses.

  • Case numbers there have been especially high because of the infection numbers in Germany's neighbors.

  • We've received more doses than plan from the EU and they're going to border areas which have a lot of cases of specific mutations.

  • But even as the German chancellor promised relief to come, she warned that the situation in the country's covid wards is worsening.

  • Since German leaders decided to partially relaxed lockdown measures in early March, infections had been rising sharply.

  • Experts are warning tougher measures are inevitable.

  • Merkel agrees.

  • We're seeing exponential growth and in our number far above one.

  • We agreed to stop these relaxations if infection rates get too high, will unfortunately have to do so.

  • In recent weeks, some German high streets have reopened due to that relaxed lockdown.

  • Soon they could again be forced to close.

  • And with widespread vaccination, that's still the government promise.

  • It's uncertain when the country will be back to normal.

  • And for more on this, I'm joined now.

  • By D.

  • W.

  • Correspondent Thomas Sparrow.

  • Thomas.

  • Let's start with that third way that Germany is facing.

  • Why are we facing, uh, such a rapid rise in coronavirus infection?

  • When it seemed just a few weeks ago, the numbers were falling.

  • It's not only a rapid rise, nick, it's an exponential growth and is particularly concerning for German authorities.

  • We heard Angela Merkel there stress just how difficult the situation nowadays is and why probably Germany will go back to stricter lockdown.

  • In fact, first German cities like the city of Hamburg already reversed some of those opening steps that we saw in the last few weeks.

  • When we look at the reasons, one of the key reasons is the presence of those more contagious variants here in Germany, in particular the B 117 variant, which was first found in the United Kingdom and which now accounts for over 70% of tested samples here in Germany to give you a bit of context at the beginning of February, that percentage was around 6%.

  • So this gives you a clear idea of why the variants are of particular concern a second issue with Germany's border regions.

  • We also saw that in that report.

  • But the fact is that many of Germany's neighbors are also badly affected by the coronavirus, or at least regions of some of those neighboring countries the French region of Moselle, for example, or Tirol in Austria or Czech Republic.

  • The second reason and the third reason is obviously the opening steps that we already discuss.

  • Opening steps come with more contacts.

  • More contacts normally come with more infection.

  • So this gives you an idea of what the situation in Germany is now so difficult not only the general situation, but also for for authorities to decide what the next steps will be.

  • Sure, okay.

  • Worsening situation.

  • Obviously, One of the solutions Merkel is putting forward is to allow family doctors to begin giving the vaccines.

  • But with only a million doses available to general practitioners in the first week, that makes around 20 doses per doctor.

  • How does that change anything?

  • 20 doses her doctor.

  • How does that Well, if If you're expecting a very rapid change, then probably you will be disappointed.

  • But the GPS or family doctors will play a very important role when it comes, for example, to gaining more flexibility in the in the process.

  • That's something that was stressed by Angela Merkel and which is an important point to, for example, go beyond that very strict guideline as boots should be vaccinated when so Certainly one element which is important here is the flexibility, another element which plays an important role when it comes to family doctors or GPS trust.

  • Trust has been affected in the cold vaccination program, which has been very slow.

  • And you know that GPS have very good relationships normally with their own patients, so they will hopefully be able to increase trust in the vaccine, in particular the AstraZeneca vaccine.

  • So it's not only about Speed Nick, it's also about increasing trust.

  • It's also about increasing flexibility in a vaccination program, which has been criticized since it began last year, in December and just really quickly.

  • Thomas German generally are quite frustrated with the back and forth and lockdowns and slow rollout with the back and forth and lock down the school role.

  • They are frustrated.

  • That's something that we saw this week, also in a in a Paul.

  • Most Germans are actually very critical of Germany's current management.

  • And that's essentially why German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders met on Friday here in Berlin.

  • Why they're actually going again next week because they understand that there's frustration.

  • They understand that that's fatigue, and they need to change the situation as quickly as possible.

  • Okay.

  • Thomas Sparrow reporting for us on the reaction to the pandemic and vaccine rollout.

  • Thanks so much.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says her country could again go into lockdown if Corona virus case numbers continue to rise.

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Germany set to go back into lockdown as vaccinations lag | DW News

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/20
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