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Together with Angela Merkel, experts advocate putting Germany on "tightened lockdown" until January 10th


Experts have asked Chancellor Angela Merkel to "lock up" and "suspend public life" until January 10, as the coronavirus infection rates in the country are still high.

An urgent appeal to politicians has been issued by members of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, which advised heads of state and government during the pandemic.

In the meantime, two German states approached a "tough lockdown" on Tuesday as officials warned that persistently high levels of coronavirus infections could overwhelm hospitals and that too many people are ignoring existing pandemic restrictions.

The research group wants to "quickly and drastically reduce the excessive number of new infections through a hard lockdown," the group said in a statement.

A two-tier, strict lockdown plan is proposed, stating that children should be out of school by December 14th and that residents should be “strongly” encouraged to work from home.

It is also suggested to stop all group sports and culture activities.

An urgent appeal to politicians has been issued by members of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, which advised heads of state and government during the pandemic. Pictured: buyers in Berlin on December 5th

The group says the second phase, which would begin at Christmas, would result in public life in Germany being largely suspended until at least January 10, 2021. This includes the closure of stores other than those that are deemed material.

Another suggestion is to extend the school holidays in Germany until January 10th and completely avoid holidays away from home and large gatherings over Christmas.

The declaration was signed by 28 scientists as well as by Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch Institute, who previously chaired a federal authority due to his position.

Some of the proposals in the group's plea are to be introduced in the German state of Saxony.

The Saxon governor Michael Kretschmer announced that schools and most shops will close from Monday to January 10, as the eastern state recorded the worst infection rates in Germany.

The figures published by the German Disease Control Center show that the number of newly confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants in Saxony reached almost 320 in one week – more than double the national average of around 147.

In the southern Bavarian neighboring state, Governor Markus Soeder called on regional legislators to support his government's decision to declare a state of emergency and introduce strict new measures, including a night curfew, more home tuition and stricter border controls.

"The numbers are simply not going down," Soeder told the Munich parliament and warned: "The second wave is worse than the first."

The research group wants to "quickly and drastically reduce the excessive number of new infections through a hard lockdown," the group said in a statement

The research group wants to "quickly and drastically reduce the excessive number of new infections through a hard lockdown," the group said in a statement

Germany avoided the high number of infections and death tolls seen in some other large European countries in the spring and continues to have a lower overall death rate than countries like the UK, France and Spain.

While restrictions imposed in November slowed the exponential rise in cases, the numbers continue to rise.

The Robert Koch Institute, the country's disease control center, reported 14,054 newly confirmed cases in the past 24 hours on Tuesday, bringing the total to nearly 1.2 million since the outbreak began.

The number of COVID-19 deaths in the country rose 423 to 19,342.

"Every four minutes a person in Germany dies of corona," Soeder told lawmakers and called the outbreak "the greatest catastrophe our generation has ever experienced".

The Conservative governor, who was questioned as a possible successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel following next year's national elections, targeted those who broke existing rules or found loopholes.

Soeder said Bavarian authorities were cracking down on what he called "Gluehwein-Hopfen" – the practice of switching from one outdoor stand serving mulled wine to another in order to bypass bar closings.

Bavarian Governor Markus Soeder said the Bavarian authorities were taking action against what he called "mulled wine hopping" - the practice of switching from one outdoor stand serving mulled wine to another in order to close bars bypass

Bavarian Governor Markus Soeder said the Bavarian authorities were taking action against what he called "mulled wine hopping" – the practice of switching from one outdoor stand serving mulled wine to another in order to close bars bypass

While restrictions imposed in Germany in November slowed the exponential surge in cases, the numbers continue to rise

While restrictions imposed in Germany in November slowed the exponential surge in cases, the numbers continue to rise

He also slammed the right-wing extremist party "Alternative für Deutschland" and its members, who railed against the restrictions and in some cases unsubstantiatedly claimed that the coronavirus pandemic was over.

Saxony's Minister of Economic Affairs, Martin Dulig, also appealed to people to follow the rules of the country that has long been a stronghold of the extreme right.

"It cannot be right that the regions that reject masks and measures the most have the highest numbers of infections," he said. "There is clearly a connection."

“It's really a matter of reason or unreason. And Saxony must become the land of reason again, ”added Dulig.

The country's authorities said last month they wanted mass vaccination centers ready by mid-December. In the picture: A new vaccine center in Wiesbaden

The country's authorities said last month they wanted mass vaccination centers ready by mid-December. In the picture: A new vaccine center in Wiesbaden

Merkel has since said that the first coronavirus vaccine in Germany may not be available until the beginning of next year.

The country's authorities said last month they wanted mass vaccination centers ready by mid-December.

However, the European Medicines Agency has since scheduled a meeting for December 29th to discuss approval of the vaccine by German company BioNTech and its US partner Pfizer.

In an interview on Monday with Metropol FM, a Berlin radio station targeting the Turkish community in Germany, Merkel said that the vaccine "for all we know today is expected to be available and approved in Europe from early 2021" .

The UK regulator was the first in the world last week to allow the vaccine to be used in an emergency, and vaccination began on Tuesday.