Chancellor Merkel: “Throughout the winter months, we will have to limit private contacts.”
Despite a nationwide lockdown, Germany on Thursday reported a record surge in new cases of coronavirus.
“Germany recorded nearly 20,000 new coronavirus cases in one day, its highest level yet,” German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported. “It brought the total case tally in Germany, a nation of 83 million people, to 597,583. Another 118 fatalities raised the death toll to 10,930.”
On November 1, German Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered a four-week national lockdown. Germany’s state media described the move as “lockdown-lite,” where schools shall stay open, but all “non-essential” businesses and restaurants will be closed, and public gatherings are banned. The latest lockdown measures are the toughest since Berlin began easing coronavirus restrictions in May.
Merkel has been telling people to stay home and follow government orders, claiming “human lives depend on it.” She hopes for a “turnaround” by disrupting the country’s economy and social life ahead of Christmas.
“Throughout the winter months, we will have to limit private contacts,” Merkel warned. “The light at the end of the tunnel is still far away.”
Fearing further disruptions, Germans are hoarding consumer items, news reports suggest.
Reuters reported the surge in the country’s coronavirus cases and the ongoing lockdown chaos:
Germany’s daily new coronavirus infections hit a record high on Thursday as data showed shoppers had stocked up on toilet paper, hand sanitiser and baking ingredients ahead of new lockdown measures that took effect this week.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 19,990 to 596,583, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.
The Statistics Office said rising coronavirus cases and the new partial lockdown, which took effect from Nov. 2, had increased the demand for some hygiene articles and foodstuffs in the second half of October.
Sales of toilet paper in the week beginning Oct. 19 were 139% above the average for the pre-crisis months of August 2019 to January 2020, the Statistics Office said. (…)
The Statistics Office said rising coronavirus cases and the new partial lockdown, which took effect from Nov. 2, had increased the demand for some hygiene articles and foodstuffs in the second half of October. (…)
Purchases of disinfectant have risen continuously in recent weeks and were up 104% over pre-crisis levels in the last week of October, but remained lower than during the first lockdown in spring, when sales at times increased almost eight-fold.
Germany is not the only European country to impose a blanket lockdown. On Thursday, Greece ordered a three-week nationwide lockdown aimed at stemming the resurgence of the Chinese pandemic. France, where major cities are already under a lockdown, the restrictions of public movement have been tightened.
“Paris will ban delivery and takeaway services for prepared food and alcohol” during the night, TV channel France24 reported on Thursday.
The economy has been one of the biggest victims as Europe copes with the so-called ‘Second Wave’ of the Wuhan virus. While the United States registered a swift recovery under President Donald Trump, the EU and the euro currency zone economies, including France and Germany, have shown little sign of bouncing back.
Despite a €1.8 trillion ($2.1 trillion) recovery plan floated by European countries, their economies will not see a rebound until 2023, the EU officials predict. The EU “downgraded its expectation for the recovery in 2021 by 2 percentage points from the 6.1 per cent expansion it forecast in May, to 4.1 per cent,” London’s Financial Times reported this week.
The resurgence of the Chinese pandemic and the flurry of EU-wide lockdowns have “put the recovery on hold in the short term,” EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said on Thursday.
“We never counted on a V-shaped recovery. Now we know for sure that we won’t have one,” he added.
The U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter (July-September) rose by an annualized rate of over 33 percent. The country was in the “midst of the fastest economic recovery from any crisis in history,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin assured recently.
Merkel announces nationwide lockdown
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