Coronavirus: Germany urges reduction in social contacts
November 16, 2020
The federal government and states have stopped short of issuing tighter COVID-19 restrictions. They did appeal to people in Germany to limit social contact. But Chancellor Merkel says she would have gone further still.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of the country's 16 states failed to agree on new lockdown measures following a summit via video conference Monday.
They will meet again next Wednesday to discuss concrete measures.
What did Merkel say?
According to Merkel, state premiers didn't want to see a tightening of restrictions before next week.
"I could have imagined imposing further contact restrictions today, but there was no majority for that," she said
She did say next week's decisions should go further and apply for a longer period.
Keeping schools open for face-to-face teaching with masks was "an important political priority."
She appealed to citizens to keep contacts at a minimum, including avoiding private parties.
Reducing contacts "Are the formula for success," Merkel added. "We need to restrict further to reach our goals."
The country is "a big step removed" from the target infection rate of 50 per 100,000 residents, which the nation's health authority, the Robert Koch Institute, deems as "high risk."
Merkel admitted that case numbers in Germany "were stabilizing, but too slowly" to justify lifting restrictions. Germany confirmed 10,824 new infections Monday, when figures are usually lower as fewer tests are carried out at the weekend. A peak was reached on Friday with 23,542 new reported cases.
What was the result of the meeting?
All people considered vulnerable will be eligible once a week for one heavy duty respirator mask, also known as FFP2.
Merkel wanted stricter rules on households meeting but talks resulted in appeals to citizens to reduce social contacts after pressure from states. These include:
Abstaining from private parties completely until Christmas;
Refraining from taking public transport;
Staying at home at the first sign of any cold-like symptoms.