Germany’s Merkel set to push for extension of Covid-19 rules until March

Berlin, Feb 9 (efe-epa).- German chancellor Angela Merkel is set to push for an extension of Covid-19 restrictions until March, which would involve a continued near-total shutdown of public activity although would leave room for schools to gradually reopen.

Local media outlets Der Spiegel and ARD public TV said Merkel would table the proposal when she meets with the leaders of the country’s federal regions on Wednesday. The measures would be drawn up amid fears of virulent new coronavirus variants that have already been detected in Germany.

Restaurants, leisure activities and the culture sector in Germany have been closed down since November last year and in December all non-essential businesses and in-person schooling were temporarily halted as Covid-19 cases skyrocketed in the country.

Local media reported that the majority of the 16 federal states would support Merkel’s proposals, although the chancellor is coming under pressure from some members of her own party to give a clear timeframe as to when the affected sectors will be able to reopen. Top of the list of priorities is education — currently, only minimal in-person services are offered to students unable to do remote learning.

The lockdown implemented late last year has helped to force the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths into a downward trend although experts continue to warn of the threat posed by the new variants.

The cumulative seven-day incidence rate on Tuesday fell below 75 per 100,000 people for the first time in three months, according to the Robert Koch Institute.EFE-EPA


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