BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – Shortly before the start of the tough lockdown in Germany, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on people to cohesion and confidence despite the restrictions. “I am sure that the responsibility that we are now showing, the burdens that we will have to bear now and for some time to come, are not in vain. They bring us closer to the end of the pandemic,” he said on Monday in Berlin. “The coming weeks are a test for all of us.” But Germany is a strong country because in this severe crisis so many people are there for each other and are growing beyond themselves. “I am very certain: the pandemic will not rob us of the future. We will overcome this crisis,” emphasized Steinmeier.
In view of the sharp rise in the number of infections and deaths, public and private life will be shut down sharply from this Wednesday on. Shops – except those for daily needs – have to close. Schools should generally be closed or compulsory attendance suspended. Private meetings remain in your own household and in one other household, but in any case limited to a maximum of five people. Children up to 14 years are excluded.
There will only be relaxation over Christmas from December 24th to 26th, but not over New Year’s Eve and New Years. Then there is a nationwide ban on gathering and gathering, as well as a ban on fireworks in popular places. In the state of Saxony, which was particularly affected by the second corona wave, the lockdown took effect on Monday.
The cuts are initially valid until January 10th. The question of which measures will then be necessary can only be answered against the background of the infection, said government spokesman Steffen Seibert on Monday in Berlin. “That will always have to be a difficult, absolutely necessary weighing process.”
Chancellery chief Helge Braun agreed that schools and daycare centers will be the first to reopen after the lockdown has ended. “We have always said that. This is the last thing we close and the first thing we open,” said the CDU politician on RTL / n-tv’s “Frühstart” program. “Education is a priority, and it stays that way.” At the same time, however, Braun gave little hope for far-reaching easing at the beginning of the new year.
He has great hope that the number of infections will decrease. But: “I think a comprehensive relaxation is very, very unlikely,” he said. “January and February are always particularly difficult months for respiratory infections.” As long as there is not enough vaccine for everyone in the winter phase, “we will have difficult days”.
The number of new infections with the coronavirus remains at a high level. 16,362 new cases were transmitted within one day, as the RKI announced on Monday morning. That is around 4,000 cases more than last Monday, when the number of new infections reported was 12,332. The previous record was reached on Friday with 29,875 reported cases. The number of cases published by the RKI is usually lower on Sundays and Mondays, partly because fewer tests are carried out on the weekend. In addition, the health authorities reported 188 new deaths within 24 hours. A week ago this value was 147. The previous high of 598 deaths was reached on Friday.
Steinmeier called the situation “bitterly serious”. The infection process threatens to get out of control. “We cannot avoid drastic measures.” The primary goal must be to reduce the number of infections as quickly as possible and then keep them at a low level. “That can only succeed if we radically limit our contacts and encounters in the next few weeks,” said the Federal President. He emphasized: “It must be done quickly and comprehensively. It must not come to the point that our health system collapses.”
With regard to the restrictions, Steinmeier said: “Celebrations can be made up for, and friends and relatives will be happy to receive gifts later. What counts now is to maintain health and save human lives.”
The FDP accused the federal government of major failures in preparing the planned vaccination against Covid-19. “For months we have been hearing from the Chancellery and the Prime Minister that a second wave is to be expected in winter and that vaccination will start soon, but hardly any preparations have been made for either,” criticized the vice-chairman of the FDP parliamentary group , Stephan Thomae. “You could have prepared vacant venues as vaccinators for a long time, train additional staff to administer the vaccine and create vaccination registers so that you know who wants to be vaccinated”, said the domestic politician of the German Press Agency./sk/DP/eas