Germany closes hospitality, culture and leisure for a month, but leaves shops and schools open

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Germany announced this Wednesday the return from November 2 at massive restrictions to stop the spread of the second wave of the coronavirus, with closures with financial compensation of theaters to gyms, cinemas to spas and fairs, but with open schools and shops.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of the executives of the 16 Länder reached this basic agreement, which will last for four weeks since that date and includes the reduction to ten people from two different addresses for meetings in private spaces.

The package of restrictions on public life and economic activity, called “breakwaters”, is based on a proposal prepared by the Ministry of Finance that contemplates alleviating up to a 75% losses arising from the closure of the affected companies and has a special item of 10,000 million euros.

“We must find a way to ensure public health and not reach a national emergency situation, “Merkel warned at a press conference.

Is necessary to act “here and now” with “tough” measures, added the Chancellor, because the situation is “very serious”: with the exponential growth that the pandemic is registering – the number of new daily infections has doubled in the last seven days – in a matter of “weeks” the German health system could reach “the limit of its capacity”.

It is not possible to trace the origin of 75% of new cases

We must flatten the curve again. The number of new infections must stabilize and drop again to be able to track infections, “said Merkel, who acknowledged that it is currently not possible to trace the origin of 75% of the new infections that are detected.

“We want to get the contagions back under control. We must be able to trace the contacts to prevent uncontrolled spread “said the Chancellor, who indicated that in April it was possible because of “common sense” and the “solidarity” of the population.

The priorities underlying this agreement, the Chancellor added, are economic and educational: an attempt has been made to maintain “economic life intact as much as possible “and keep schools and nurseries open, although improving their hygiene and safety protocols.

Merkel also indicated that she will try to avoid isolation of the elderly living in residences with the massive use of rapid tests among workers, residents and visitors.

In addition to the closings of various businesses, mainly in the entertainment field, the agreement recommends avoid all non-essential travel -including those of a family nature- and prohibits tourist travel.

However, this package does not reach the harshness of that decreed in March and April, when commercial and educational life was also paralyzed, and has less strict measures, for example, curfews that are being applied in different European countries where infections have also skyrocketed in recent weeks.

The agreement was reached after a difficult negotiation between the Länder -the competent in this area-, since there were different sensitivities derived from the different geographical incidence of the pandemic, and with the mediation of the Foreign Ministry with the common objective of achieving a unitary and forceful response to the coronavirus.

Merkel’s video conference with regional leaders came fifteen days after the last coronavirus meeting at the highest level, in which only a vague agreement was reached. According to the chancellor, then the “political acceptance” for the restrictions was lacking.

Maximum new infections in Germany

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) of virology reported 14,964 new coronavirus infections this Wednesday, the highest figure recorded in Germany.

Germany thus accumulates 463,157 cases of coronavirus -for a total population of 83.2 million inhabitants-, of which 326,707 have already overcome the disease. In addition, since March 10,284 have died with or from Covid-19.

The average cumulative incidence of the country in the last seven days is 99.1 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, although with wide regional differences. The main complications are in the big cities. After 50 infections, one enters the category of risk zone, according to the RKI criteria.

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