Merkel warns of toughest phase; UK doctors warn NHS could collapse

Madrid Desk, Jan 9 (efe-epa).- German chancellor Angela Merkel said her country was entering the toughest phase of the Covid-19 pandemic as she called for restrictions to be better applied, while medical professionals in the United Kingdom have warned of an imminent collapse in the healthcare system amid rapidly rising infection rates linked to gatherings over the holiday season.

Experts in Italy are also calling for tougher restrictions to be implemented despite good progress being made in the country’s vaccine program, and French presidency sources reportedly revealed that the wife of the president, Brigitte Macron, was diagnosed with coronavirus over Christmas.


German chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged on Saturday that the country is facing “the most difficult phase of the pandemic” and called for the implementation and enforcement of new restrictions to regain control of the virus.

In her weekly video message, the chancellor asked citizens to be patient, prudent and considerate of others in the face of this “dangerous second wave”.

“The more consistently we apply the measures today, the sooner we can control (the pandemic) and the less time we will have to live with these restrictions,” Merkel said.

The chancellor and the heads of the 16 regional prime ministers agreed on Tuesday to extend until the end of January the current restrictions on public life and economic activity, as well as to tighten some of them.

Leisure, culture, gastronomy and sports will remain closed (from November), as well as schools and non-essential stores (from December).

But in addition, private meetings have been limited to the people living together plus one person from outside the household, while travel in the areas with the highest accumulated incidence is limited to a radius of 15 kilometers.

These are “tough” and “drastic” measures, Merkel said, but she insisted they are “necessarily mandatory” given the pandemic situation in the country.

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