German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday told people to stay home and cut down on social contacts ahead of the Christmas, as the country registered record number of new cases of Wuhan coronavirus.

Chancellor Merkel’s remarks came as Germany is in the midst of the second wave of the Chinese virus which began resurgence last month. Germany reported 22,268 new cases of the Chinese virus and 389 death, taking the total cases to over a million and 15,160 fatalities since the pandemic began.

The month-long lockdown, which Merkel introduced in early November, has now been extended until at least December 20. This, however, does not mean that Germans can observe Christmas with traditional festivities.

The so-called “Christmas amnesty,” or the respite over the holiday season, promised earlier by the Merkel’s government, may not be granted, Merkel said. “We cannot promise relief for Christmas,” she warned on Thursday, thus crushing the hopes of a normal holiday season for Germans this year.

The German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported Merkel’s comments:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the extension of Germany’s partial lockdown in a speech to lawmakers Thursday.

She said current lockdown measures had enjoyed some success, but more was needed to avoid the health system being overwhelmed.

“Our goal is and remains to reduce the number of infections to such an extent that the health authorities are once again able to recognise and interrupt infection chains,” Merkel stressed.

She said this would be achieved if the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants fell below 50 within seven days. In most regions of Germany, the figure is currently significantly higher. (…)

The chancellor noted that since November restrictions, people have reduced their contacts by 40%. Underscoring the need for further restrictions, she said that “if we were to wait until intensive care units are fully occupied, it would be too late.”

The news cases of Coronavirus are on the surge in Germany despite the toughest lockdown measures in Europe imposed by the Merkel’s government. Pubs, restaurants, gyms and other leisure facilities have been closed. Hotels are allowed to provide accommodation only for “non-tourist purposes.” Private gatherings are limited to no more than five people from two households, and Mask-wearing is compulsory in all indoor public places.

Merkel has repeatedly told Germans to “stay home” and cut social contacts. “I ask you to refrain from any trip that is not really necessary, any celebration that is not really necessary. Please stay at home — wherever you are, whenever possible,” Merkel said in an address to the nation on October 14.

While the risk posed the Chinese pandemic is real, Merkel has not been even-handed in her approach. Her government has not only allowed, but actively cheered, the large ‘anti-racism’ protests in line with the U.S. Black Lives Matter movement, but on the other hand opted to clamped down on traditional Oktoberfest and upcoming carnival festivities.

Berlin was “shocked” by the incidents in the U.S. and “it is good if people take to the streets in Germany as well with a clear statement against racism,” Merkel’s official spokesman declared at the onset of the essentially anti-Trump, if not anti-American, protests which brought ten of thousands of Germans on the streets.

Merkel: “Coronavirus Germany’s biggest challenge since Second World War”

 

 
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