A concerted effort

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Chancellor on COVID restrictions A concerted effort

Chancellor Angela Merkel has explained the new pandemic restrictions that came into effect on Monday. Over the next four weeks, she said, it is vital that these new measures be rigorously implemented. The virus will take full advantage of any half-hearted efforts. "Reduce your contacts wherever possible," declared Angela Merkel.

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Chancellor Angela Merkel during a press conference on the pandemic

The health infrastructure and the economy are to continue to function, while schools and nurseries are to remain open, said the Chancellor.

Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

On the day that the new contact restrictions came into effect throughout Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel explained the goals of the measures now put in place by federal and state governments. "If we stick rigorously to these rules for one month, we can turn the tide in this second wave of the pandemic," declared the Chancellor. November must be the month where a concerted effort brings success.  Whether or not "the joint effort" is crowned with the success we hope for, said the Chancellor, will however depend not only on the rules "but primarily on whether or not people follow the rules". On 16 November, the representatives of the federal and state governments will come together to take stock.

"I believe in the strength of acting sensibly"

On Monday, the relevant ministers, who make up the "Corona Cabinet", discussed the current situation. The exponential growth in the numbers of new cases is worrying. We cannot allow the rapid spread of the virus to increasingly overwhelm the local public health offices, said Angela Merkel. "We must get the situation under control to a point where the local public health offices can trace contacts again – otherwise the exponential growth will simply spiral further upwards."

Schools and nurseries to stay open 

The aim is to push the number of new infections down again to about 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitations over a seven-day period – so that the local public health offices can once again trace all contacts. At the moment, we can no longer trace 75 per cent of new cases. Schools and nurseries will remain open as long as possible though. That is something we learned from the first wave of the pandemic, said Angela Merkel.

Hospitality sector will not be left alone

The Chancellor promised swift, unbureaucratic assistance for companies hit by the closures: The Federal Ministers of Finance and Economic Affairs will be providing up to ten billion euros to this end. Angela Merkel said, "Nobody, whether they are a restaurant owner or a gym manager, will be left to cope alone with the loss of earnings over the next four weeks." The aim is, as it has been from the outset, to keep the economy going as far as possible. The reduction in value added tax will not, however, be extended beyond the end of the year.

Compensation approved

The Chancellor reported that there had been agreement to help the cultural sector, and reward its engagement. "People who are again unable to perform at this time or who cannot show their works obviously suffer as a result. They are making sacrifices for all of us, for the whole of society in just the same way as those who run restaurants, bars and clubs." The Corona Cabinet also discussed extended interim assistance for artists.

Use the Corona-Warn-App

21.5 million people have already downloaded the Corona-Warn-App. Of the 165 laboratories involved in testing, 152 are now connected up to the app, which has already communicated 2.57 million test results. 38,000 users have passed on positive test results to their contacts. Even so, regrettably only 60 per cent of people testing positive pass on their contacts. Raising acceptance here, said the Chancellor, is "a huge task that lies before us".