Chancellor Angela Merkel, met with the heads of Germany’s 16 states and ordered a hard lockdown in Germany. This comes in the wake of swelling infections and deaths. The looser shutdown earlier on has not had the desired effect.
From Wednesday, the country is poised to enter a hard lockdown. Non essential stores will be shut and employers are asked to close workplaces. school children have been asked to stay home. There is a ban on gatherings over the New Year up to at least January 10, 2021.
“There is an urgent need for action,” Merkel told a news conference. “We have seen rising infections and exponential growth in recent days and that means that we have to grieve many dead.”
Germany had been lauded for carefully handling the initial wave of coronavirus especially when compared with its neighbors. However, record rises of infections and fatalities on Friday put pressure on the government to act before Christmas. Almost 22,000 have died and there have been 1.3 million cases.
“The coronavirus is out of control, so we don’t want to do things piecemeal but act decisively,” Bavaria Premier Markus Soeder said, alongside the Chancellor. He described it as a “catastrophe” and asked for national efforts to deal with it. “If we’re not careful, Germany will quickly become the problem child of Europe,” he warned.
As expected retailers are upset as festivals are around the corner in this traditional shopping month and a group of them wrote to Merkel warning of “disastrous consequences” if stores are closed in December.