BERLIN – Germany has announced plans to extend lockdown restrictions until April 18 amid a sharp rise in the number of infections.
“We have not yet been able to defeat the virus, it does not give up,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday morning in Berlin after 12-hour marathon consultations with the state premiers.
Germany is in a “very, very serious situation” with rising infections, heightened pressure on intensive care units, and the spread of more contagious variants, she added.
“We are in a race with vaccination,” Merkel said.
She pointed out that the country is “basically facing a new pandemic” with a new virus that is way more deadly and more infectious.
If an area has an incidence rate of more than 100 for three consecutive days, harsher lockdown measures will once again apply.
The stricter lockdown over the Easter holidays comes amid calls by some health experts for a full lockdown with a night curfew.
Merkel’s coalition government is under intense public pressure for its handling of the pandemic crisis, especially when it comes to its slow vaccination program.
Since it administered its first shot in December, Germany has only vaccinated about 9 percent of the nation, as some 7.5 million first doses and 3.3 million second doses have been administered so far.
Part of the problem is that Germany has only been offering shots at specific vaccine centers and not at doctors’ offices.
Merkel has acknowledged to failings with the sluggish speed of the vaccine rollout and said earlier this month that doctors’ offices should be able to vaccinate patients starting April 1. (Anadolu)