Germany tightens lockdown over Easter

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In view of rising CoV infection figures, Germany is going into its most severe lockdown over Easter since the pandemic began a year ago. From April 1 to April 5 inclusive, public, economic and private life is to be severely shut down. This was decided by German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the prime ministers of the states during the night. The lockdown will be extended overall until April 18.

This was decided by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the state premiers on Tuesday night, according to their decision paper. They also passed the following resolutions:

To combat the pandemic, public, economic and private life in Germany is to be shut down over Easter as never before during the crisis. Maundy Thursday and Holy Saturday will be defined as one-off days of rest for this purpose. Only on Holy Saturday will food retailers remain open in the narrow sense, but not on Maundy Thursday. Open outdoor restaurants will be closed, and there will be a ban on gatherings in public spaces.

The principle of “We’ll stay home” will apply for five consecutive days, i.e. from April 1 to April 5. Private gatherings are prohibited during this period in the circle of members of one’s own household and with one other household, but limited to a maximum of five people. Children up to 14 years of age are not counted. Couples are considered as one household.

If possible, there should be no services over the Easter holidays. The federal and state governments want to approach the religious communities with a request to this effect.

For vacationers abroad, an amendment to the Infection Protection Act is to introduce a general obligation to be tested before the return flight. It is to be made a prerequisite for entry into Germany. The federal and state governments are making an “urgent” appeal to refrain from nonessential travel in Germany and abroad.

In counties with a 7-day incidence of more than 100, current corona restrictions are to be tightened again. These may include curfew restrictions, tightened contact restrictions, and mandatory wearing of medical masks by passengers, even in private cars.

The federal and state governments want to expand Corona testing for students, teachers and daycare workers and are aiming for “two tests per week as soon as possible.” Distribution and organization is proceeding differently from region to region, and practical implementation is still being debated in many places – for example, whether the tests should take place at home or at school. Merkel and the state premiers did not reach any concrete agreements on the organization of the continued operation of schools and daycare centers, such as possible closures or other restrictions. The states will thus continue to regulate these issues on their own.

According to the Chancellor, the Easter holidays are to become a “period of calm” in view of rising infection figures. It is a matter of breaking the third wave to some extent, Merkel said at night. Referring to business life, Merkel explained that the “rest days” meant regulations analogous to Sundays and public holidays. This means that gas stations, for example, are open as a matter of course. Certain companies could also work on Sundays and public holidays.

Germany is in a “very, very serious situation” in view of the spread of the virus variants and rising infection figures. The crucial terms are “caution and flexibility,” Merkel added. “We have not yet been able to defeat the virus, it is not letting up,” the CDU politician said.

Tests in companies remain voluntary for now
However, the federal government and the states continue to rely on the voluntary nature of companies for tests for employees for the time being. That, too, emerges from the resolution paper. At the beginning of April, the business associations would present an initial implementation report on how many companies are participating.

In view of the rising infection figures, it is necessary to implement the tests quickly in all companies in Germany. The tests should be offered to employees who do not work in a home office at least once a week and, if available, twice a week, and should also be certified.

— sources: orf.at and derspiegel.de/picture: pixabay.com

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