German lockdown loopholes criticized as deaths hit new high


The head of Germany’s disease control agency says there are too many loopholes in the country’s coronavirus lockdown rules

German authorities have imposed restrictions on social contacts, largely closed schools and limited travel for those in areas with high infection rates, but the rules aren’t uniformly enforced across the country’s 16 states.

“To me, these measures we’re now taking aren’t a complete lockdown,” said Wieler. “There are still too many exceptions and they aren’t being strictly implemented.”

Officials are considering tougher restrictions to curb the continued rise in infections.

The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen over the past two weeks from 23.36 per 100,000 people on Dec. 30 to 26.03 per 100,000 people on Jan. 13.

Wieler pointed to the sharp spike in infections recently seen in Ireland as an example of how quickly the outbreak can escalate again if rules are relaxed, especially given the new seemingly more contagious variant of the virus circulating there and in neighboring Britain.

All infections with the variants so far confirmed in Germany involved people who had traveled outside the country, said Wieler.

“We need to be very careful, especially of the British mutation of this virus,” Ralph Brinkhaus, the parliamentary leader of Merkel’s bloc, told broadcaster n-tv. ”So we don’t yet know what further measures will be necessary in coming weeks.”


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