German Chancellor Seeks Nationwide COVID-19 Restrictions
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday she is asking Parliament for temporary powers that would allow her federal government to implement nationwide coronavirus lockdowns to curb a third wave of the pandemic in the country.
Merkel spoke to reporters after her Cabinet approved a draft of legislation that would give her government the power to impose pandemic-related restrictions, including curfews and school and business closings in areas with high infection rates.
The chancellor said the measures are needed to “break the third wave of the pandemic and stop the rapid rise in infections” in those areas where infection rates are more than 100 per 100,000 residents for three consecutive days within a week.
Earlier this year, when laying out a plan for reopening the nation and lifting restrictions, Merkel mentioned the need for what she called “an emergency brake” should infections rise.
Merkel said it is clear that emergency brake is overdue. Citing daily figures from the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases, she said the latest daily infection rate is at nearly 11,000 new cases, and nearly all the nation’s intensive care unit beds are in use. Merkel said she hoped Parliament would swiftly debate and pass the bill.
She again asked for Germans to show patience and noted the vaccine program has been “building momentum every day,” with the recent start of vaccinations in doctors’ offices.