Germany, fear of new strains forces to extend restrictions until March
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, defended the extension of the restrictions until March 7 due to the fear of the new, more aggressive mutations, while ensuring that the government's goal is to be able to lift them as soon as they lack justification, for which did not give dates.
"What we agreed yesterday, of this I am convinced, is adequate, necessary and proportionate. There still is no softer measure than to minimize contacts in a consistent way to bring the evolution of contagions in a sustainable way to a controllable level," she said. in his declaration of government before the Bundestag.
Everyone is aware of how much people are suffering, he added, but underlined his conviction that to concentrate on the meeting yesterday with the regional powers in schools, hairdressers and a first phase of opening from a certain incidence accumulated in seven days was the right thing to do.
Merkel acknowledged that for the educational centers and nurseries, which have been closed since last December 16, she would have liked the decision to reopen them also to be based on the incidence, but at this point she finally agreed to leave it to the discretion of each Land.
Thus, schools will be able to gradually return to face-to-face classes before March 7, while hair salons will be able to reopen at the beginning of that month.
The Chancellor stressed that there are good prospects for the incidence accumulated in seven days to have dropped from 64.2 new cases per 100,000 today to 50 on March 1, a level that is considered necessary to be able to trace all the chains again contagion.
For the reopening of non-essential shops, museums and services that require prolonged physical contact, the new framework criterion agreed with the regional powers is at an incidence of no more than 35, a perspective that she described as correct and important.
In a next phase of relaxation of the restrictions, we will talk about those that affect contacts in the private space, higher courses in educational centers, group sports and leisure, restaurants and hotels.
It will be a gradual process, although today it is still not possible to say what will be the incidence with which we can do according to what things without running the risk of falling back into an exponential growth of new infections and a "third great wave" if they are imposed the new, more infectious variants of the virus, he said.
Merkel was also convinced that opening to closing again does not provide citizens with more predictability than waiting a few days to be able to guarantee that measures can be relaxed in an ongoing process.
"All the measures have been decided on the basis of the norms of our democracy, which makes them legitimate. But I know very well that as a democracy we are also obliged not to keep these restrictions in place one day longer than necessary and to lift them when already are not justified, "he said.