Coronavirus: Merkel and German states consider tighter restrictions | News | DW

On Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel will discuss potential new measures with the heads of the country’s 16 states via video conference. The draft procedure document, which was shared with various media, said that people would be urged to abstain from private parties altogether until Christmas.

According to the suggestions, children and youth should be encouraged to meet with only one friend regularly at their spare time. Likewise, families should restrict private encounters to their own family and members of a particular other family.

The draft document also stipulates that public meetings of people be restricted to their family members and a maximum of two people from another family.

The proposals can still be changed pending discussion between the federal and regional governments.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Merkel warned during her video address Saturday that “next winter will still require a lot of everyone.”

Masks and social distancing in schools

The bill also calls for tighter social distancing measures in schools. Masks that cover the mouth and nose should become mandatory for teachers and pupils of all ages on school buildings and during lessons.

Pupils should take lessons in ad hoc, unchanging groups of about half the size of a normal class, according to the suggestion.

All people considered to be at risk will be eligible once a week for a heavy duty respirator, also known as FFP2.

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Other potential solutions include asking people who have mild cold symptoms, such as coughing or a runny nose, to isolate themselves and go into quarantine.

Regional bottlenecks

Germany this month imposed a set of measures called “light of the lockdown” to curb the second wave of the epidemic that the country is witnessing jointly with most of Europe. While bars and restaurants are closed, schools and stores remain open.

As a result, the document said, the numbers of new infections were no longer growing significantly, but a decrease in infection numbers was not yet expected.

After the epidemic began, 520,000 cases of COVID-19 were detected in Germany by the end of October, but the numbers rose by 50% to 780,000 cases in the first two weeks of November. In the same period, the number of COVID-19 intensive care patients in German hospitals increased by 70%, leading to regional bottlenecks.

And Merkel warned during her video address Saturday that “the coming winter will still require a lot of everyone.”

On November 23, the Chancellor and the heads of regional states will meet again and may decide further measures, taking into account the evolution of the numbers of infected people by that time.

kbd / sri (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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