Germany will be taking further medical precautions to ensure that the rising number of people infected with the novel virus can be treated, said Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday. The federal government and the governments of the federal states have agreed to coordinate the joint procurement of medical equipment. Hospitals are to increase their intensive care capacities and ventilator capacities, and strategies to protect particularly vulnerable individuals are to be updated.
Where medically responsible, all routine hospital admissions, surgery and interventions are to be postponed until further notice as of Monday. Hospitals are to focus on the expected rising demand for intensive care beds and ventilator capacities to treat patients with serious respiratory conditions resulting from Covid-19.
To stem the spread of the virus, people should avoid all unnecessary gatherings. "This is a call to everyone," declared the Chancellor. We must nevertheless ensure that the essential state functions are upheld as well as the core sectors of the economy.
But what does that mean for universities, schools and nurseries? Since the situation is not the same everywhere in Germany, closures could be an option in some regions, declared Angela Merkel.
The Chancellor repeated, "Germany will do what is necessary to assist its economy and save jobs." On Friday, the Bundestag and the Bundesrat are to adopt the new regulations on short-time work allowances. Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier are to announce further reaching measures for the private sector.
The Chancellor announced that the federal, state and local authorities would be further stepping up cooperation. In addition, agreement has been reached to act not only nationwide, but in close conjunction with the European Union. "Because we are convinced that we can only master this difficult situation if we pull together throughout Europe," said the Chancellor.