North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) State Premier Armin Laschet called for a harder lockdown on Monday as Germany struggles to contain a third wave of the coronavirus.
However, Laschet's request has been met with skepticism from fellow German lawmakers.
The chairman of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and one of her potential successor as chancellor said that Germany needed harder lockdown measures to stem a rise in cases of COVID-19.
Speaking at a vaccination center in Aachen, Lasschet said Germany must create a lockdown that bridges the time until immunizations can make a difference.
"We need a bridge lockdown. We have to build a bridge to the point in time when a lot of people are vaccinated."
"We are very close to the goal," he continued. "For the last meters we need an extra effort and that's what I’m calling for today."
Laschet is asking for fewer private contacts, which could require curfews at night, and for more people to work from home.
He said that a meeting planned for April 12 among the premiers of Germany's 16 states and the federal government should take place this week instead.
But Thuringia State Premier Bodo Ramelow (The Left party) expressed doubt over his counterpart's strategy. "We can meet at any time, but there must be something on the table first that we can actually decide on together and, above all, implement it," he told Der Spiegel. "The current speeches are again patchwork and hectic."
"I think a lot of what Mr Laschet says is unclear," said Berlin State Premier Michael Müller (SPD). "A bridge lockdown is temporary with what measures? I don't think Mr Laschet has thought things through."
The co-chairwoman of The Left party, Janine Wissler, also criticized Laschet. "It is irresponsible that the numbers have risen so high that so many people have fallen ill and the intensive care units are full," she told Der Spiegel. "Whether his proposals are based on insight or because he has lost the power struggle against the chancellor, remains be seen. In any case, this crisis management makes one become fearful and anxious."
Germany, despite months of restrictions, has seen a rise in coronavirus infections as it lags behind Britain, Israel and the United States in its vaccination pace.
jsi/aw (dpa, Reuters)