On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for tougher Coronavirus lockdown measures throughout the country to slow the spread.   

Germans who refuse to obey the government Coronavirus order may end up celebrating the “last Christmas with the grandparents,” Merkel crudely warned. If people “have too many contacts now before Christmas, and that ends up making it the last Christmas with the grandparents.” 

The remarks come as Germany has been in a nationwide lockdown since early November. Chancellor Merkel had earlier “guaranteed” the easing of restrictions before Christmas. She has since walked back on that promise. 

Merkel’s comments reflect the growing worries about the second wave of the Chinese virus, which began last month. On Wednesday, Germany confirmed a record daily death toll of 590 people, taking the total number of fatalities to 19,932 since the virus first arrived from central China. The country registered more than 1.2 million cases of the pandemic.

German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported Merkel’s remarks:

Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for much tougher restrictions on public life going into Christmas. She came out explicitly in favor of the recommendations that Germany’s National Academy of Science, Leopoldina, released on Tuesday.

They call for an end to required school attendance starting Dec. 14, an extended Christmas school break, a full closure of all but essential businesses starting December 24, and working from home to the fullest extent possible.

Merkel said she opposed opening hotels so families could meet over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and that she agreed with recommendations to close shops after Christmas until January 10.

Merkel made her remarks in the Bundestag parliament Wednesday morning as part of the debate over the government’s 2021 budget debate. These debates are traditionally an opportunity to take stock of government performance over the previous year. Merkel’s planned retirement next year after 15 years in power means this was her final budget debate.

The opposition to Merkel’s measures came from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. She locks up citizens and destroys entire industries,” AfD chief Alice Weidel said in the parliament. 

Merkel, who is known for suppressing her public emotions, grew annoyed and irritated with AfD lawmakers who rejected her demand for tighter restrictions.

“In her speech, Chancellor Angela Merkel became more emotional than ever.” Germany’s biggest news portal T-Online commented. “Actually, we never saw her like this before.” German weekly Der Spiegel also noted that “Merkel held a very emotional speech in the Bundestag.”

Merkel’s statement came on the heels of Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s remarks saying that he will pass an ‘executive order to require masks everywhere’ when he takes over the presidency. Mainstream media commentators have lauded Merkel’s handling of the Chinese pandemic as a model for the United States. 

Clip: ‘Merkel gets emotional in speech’ over lockdown


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