“The measures did not work, we must act immediately” – Corriere.it

BERLIN – The out-of-control pandemic, Germany risks becoming the case of Europe. We are 5 minutes before midnight. The sentence of the Bavarian premier Markus Soeder captures the whole dramatic German situation well.

As we anticipated yesterday, the government and the federal states have decided to introduce a hard lockdown starting from Wednesday and until January 10 on the entire national territory. Chancellor Angela Merkel made the announcement at the end of a short videoconference with the sixteen regional premieres. The measures we approved in November did not significantly reduce infections, there is an urgent need to act and we are doing it, explained Merkel, who for weeks now has been warning of an exponential increase in Covid cases.19 e he called for a general lockout.

Last Friday the record was recorded with almost 30,000 new infections and 600 deaths in a single day. In the last 24 hours, new cases have been just over 20,200, with 321 victims, but only because far fewer tests are carried out over the weekend. According to the agreement, starting from December 16 – in addition to bars, restaurants, gyms, cinemas, theaters, museums and brothels already closed since last November 2 – they will also close all non-essential stores, except only for pharmacies, grocery stores and banks. Schools and nursery schools will also be closed: Where possible, children should be cared for at home, explained the chancellor. Hairdressers, beauty and tattoo salons will also close, while restaurants will be able to continue to provide take-away service. (who all rules)

Employers are asked to put their employees in smart working or to stop their activities, an indication that was not given in the first wave of the pandemic. The consumption of alcohol in public places will be prohibited, which will force the closure of the kiosks that thousands of bars and restaurants have kept open these days to sell the traditional Christmas wine. Moreover, a very significant measure because it affects a tradition very dear to the Germans, the sale of fireworks for New Year is banned. The reason, Soeder explained, is that hospitals would not be able to treat the thousands of injured, many of them seriously, which are recorded every year on New Year’s Eve. Private meetings will still be limited to 5 people belonging to no more than 2 families, excluding children.

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From 24 to 26 December it will be possible to be more, but only among close relatives of a single family. While no easing is expected for the end of year holidays. The government has urged to refrain from travel, both in Germany and abroad. In any case, the hotels remain open only for those traveling for demonstrable business reasons. THEOn January 4, a new videoconference between Merkel and the regional premieres will take stock of the results and evaluate a possible extension of the hard lockdown. In terms of economic shock absorbers, the head of Finance Olaf Scholz, announced that the government will support companies with a new 11.2 billion euro bazooka.

The activities that will be forced to close, explained the minister, will be able to request and obtain reimbursement up to a maximum of 90% of fixed costs, with a ceiling of 500 thousand euros per month. It is a catastrophe – said Scholz -, the most serious crisis of the last 50 years. But we are determined to limit the damage to the German people as much as possible. I realize that these measures will have serious consequences on people’s lives – Merkel said -, but we have no choice. The chancellor has asked her compatriots, in the coming days, to minimize all contacts that are not absolutely urgent or necessary.

Already at the beginning of the week, Merkel in a dramatic intervention in the Bundestag, he had admitted that the lockdown light launched on November 2 amid resistance and grumbling of the regional prime ministers (who also have exclusive jurisdiction over health care in the emergency) failed. The curve does not flatten The incidence remains at a very high level: 150 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days, with astronomical peaks of over 400 weekly infections per 100,000 inhabitants in 23 areas of the country. There are currently almost 4400 people in intensive care, which is more patients than in April. While the number of positive tests has exceeded the levels of March: 1.5 out of 10. How this situation has come about is not easy to understand.

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In October Merkel denounced the Gesundheitsaemter crisis, the health offices scattered throughout the territory which are the first line of defense and which during the first wave had done an excellent job of tracking and monitoring: They are overwhelmed, they risk not being able to follow more the chain of infections, the chancellor had warned. Another reason is the lack of personnel, denounced by a documentary by the Zdf, the second public network, which makes the wide availability of intensive care units useless. It seems incredible, but despite having a high number of doctors and nurses compared to the population (respectively 4 and 13 for every thousand inhabitants), Germany is far worse off in relation to the beds: in fact there is 1 nurse for every 10 patients, against 5 in Switzerland and 4 in Holland, 3 in Norway. Meanwhile, in the hospitals of Berlin and Brandenburg, the number of infected doctors and nurses continues to rise and this leads to saturation of capacity. The total number of tests carried out also dropped, which after the first wave had reached 1.5 million per week.

As he explains The time, citing the RKI, in order not to overwhelm the system the changed strategy and now mainly people with strong symptoms are tested. This probably meant that many asymptomatic people or people with mild symptoms got out of control and infected others as well. As for the increase in the number of deaths, a possible and in any case partial explanation in the average age of the newly infected. While in the first wave the German one had been among the lowest in Europe, now the pandemic affects mainly among the elderly: according to Lothar Wieler, director of the Robert Koch Institut, currently twice as many infections are recorded in retirement homes in Germany than in spring. Finally, the schools, which with a very courageous decision have so far been kept open. Although students are not among the highest incidence groups, Wieler admits that they are a part of the new wave.

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December 13, 2020 (change December 13, 2020 | 13:54)


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