"We are not powerless"

Infections in major cities "We are not powerless"

Chancellor Angela Merkel has met with the mayors of Germany’s eleven largest cities to discuss the particular challenges of stemming the pandemic in urban centres. They agreed to introduce additional restrictions if the incidence of new cases rises.

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Photo: Presse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung

The numbers of new cases are already rising sharply in some German cities. At a video conference Chancellor Angela Merkel and the mayors of the country’s eleven largest cities have reached an agreement on measures to specifically address this trend.

The output paper stipulates that immediate special restrictions become necessary when the number of cases reaches 50 per 100,000 over a seven-day period. They include, in particular, making masks mandatory in additional places and circumstances, limiting contacts in public places, introducing more restrictive closing times for the hospitality sector and/or restrictions on the sale of alcohol, as well as further limiting the number of people who may attend special events and specifically also parties, including parties in private homes.

Participants to meet again in 14 days

If it does not prove possible to stop the rising numbers of infections within 10 days in spite of these new measures, more targeted restrictions will be unavoidable in order to further reduce public contacts. Angela Merkel announced, after the meeting, that participants had agreed to meet again in two weeks, with a new video conference scheduled to see "where we are then thanks to the additional measures, and what has been achieved."

What we do now will determine the course of the pandemic in winter

"New case numbers are rising, but we are by no means powerless," stressed Angela Merkel following the talks. "The days and weeks to come will decide how Germany copes with the pandemic this winter. The goal is and will remain "keeping the number of new cases down to a level where ideally every single case can be traced, the contact persons informed and warned and infection chains broken."

"What we need now is vigilance and solidarity"

The Chancellor called on younger people in particular to respect the rules. "Everything will come back – parties, going out, having fun without COVID restrictions," she pledged. But not now. What we need now is "vigilance and solidarity. We need to respect the basic rules – distancing, hygiene and face masks. We need to use the app and – and this is new for the colder seasons – we need to air rooms".