Germany’s Covid-19 infection rate is too high and its third wave of infection may be the toughest yet, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said amid reports that regional leaders have agreed to extend lockdown by another three weeks.
“This third wave is perhaps the toughest for us,” Merkel said as she opened the Hannover Messe trade fair on Monday.
The chancellor said vaccinations are the “most important weapon” in Germany’s armoury against the pandemic, while testing is needed to “build a bridge” until the jabs begin to take effect.
Merkel stressed, however, that a quick vaccination of the population is “no guarantee” that further mutations of the virus will not spread across the globe, potentially undermining the effect of vaccines.
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The chancellor’s comments come as German federal state leaders reportedly agreed at the weekend to extend the current lockdown restrictions, due to expire next Monday, by three weeks until May 9.
The agreement of regional leaders to extend public health measures is a reaction to new coronavirus legislation being worked on by Merkel’s government, according to Business Insider.
The Chancellor, who favors a short, strict lockdown to halt the spread of infection, is said to be pushing a new piece of legislation to give the government greater powers over federal states.
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The new law would allow her administration to slap blanket restrictions – including 9pm to 5am curfews – on all regions with a Covid-19 incidence rate of more than 100 cases per 100,000 people.
German states are reportedly taking measures in case of any loopholes in the legislation, as the national infection rate remains high.
In the last 24 hours some 13,245 Covid-19 cases were reported, while the infection rate over the last week stands at 136.4 cases per 100,000 people, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).
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