Health

Germany sets ‘sad record’ amid warnings of tougher lockdowns

Berlin, Dec 10 (efe-epa).- Lothar Wieler, the president of the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s disease control center, appealed for an even greater reduction in people’s social contacts to avoid a tougher lockdown.

Wieler was speaking a day after chancellor Angela Merkel made an impassioned speech to parliament calling for greater attention to be paid to public health guidelines.

If people cannot reduce their contacts by more than 60 percent, “I see no other possibility” than hardening the measures, Wieler told a press conference where he announced a new “sad record” of 23,679 daily infections had been set.

He pointed out that the current 40 percent reduction of contacts was “not enough”, adding that they need to be reduced to well over 60 percent, to bring it in line with the situation in spring, when Germany navigated the pandemic’s first wave with relative success compared to other European countries.

He pointed to the examples of Ireland and Belgium, which, thanks to a drastic reduction in contacts, have brought the number of infections down in the past month.

Appealing to people’s individual responsibilities, Wieler said that regardless of any measures that may still be imposed by the federal government and the states, “we can protect ourselves to a great extent, and that will always be our call.”

He said that the German people are “educated” and “intelligent” and appealed to the citizens to “take charge of their destiny”.

“The situation is still very serious and indeed has even worsened in the last week,” he said, calling the situation “worrying”.

The regional government of Berlin announced on Thursday a total halt to non-essential commercial life, a measure that excludes supermarkets and pharmacies.

The mayor-governor of the capital and city state, Michael Müller, announced the shutdown which will be implemented from December 20 until January 10.

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