Merkel said that there would currently be no further relaxation of coronavirus rules across Germany, according to participants of the first virtual presidium meeting of Merkel’s centre right Christian Democrats (CDU) after the summer break.
This also applies to football games, which will not be played with spectators in September as had initially been anticipated.
CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer emphasized at the same meeting that she wanted to get a grip on the rising coronavirus infection numbers without far-reaching measures if possible.
“Every effort must be made to prevent a second lockdown,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer, according to party sources.
Priority should be given to the safest possible operation of schools and daycare centers, she said. The economy must also be supported in order to avoid higher unemployment, for example through extending the Kurzarbeit (reduced working hours) programme.
Merkel has a “fundamentally positive” attitude toward such plans, said government spokesman Steffen Seibert.
As of Monday August 17th, there have been a total of 225,201 coronavirus cases in Germany, 201,872 who reported themselves to have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been 9,236 deaths resulting from the virus.
Chancellor Merkel and Germany’s 16 state ministers are planning a meeting for the coming week in order to discuss the current coronavirus situation, and how to come up with more consistent rules across the country for fighting the virus.
No need for alarm
Hesse state premier Volker Bouffier (CDU) also warned against getting too alarmed about the current coronavirus figures, according to party sources.
Germany no longer has a situation like it did at the beginning of the epidemic in March, he said, and called on the country to deal with the situation “calmly”.
Bouffier and also North Rhine-Westphalian premier Armin Laschet had made it clear during the discussions that they expected it would be necessary to live with the current situation for a long time.
In the meantime, Lower Saxony's state government announced it’s considering postponing its planned relaxation of rules. Night clubs, for example, will remain closed.
Originally, the next stage of the relaxation was to take effect on September 1st, Minister President Stephan Weil told the radio station Antenne Niedersachsen on Monday.
“But we are currently in an unstable situation”, the SPD politician continued.
The next stage will therefore be postponed “at least” until September 14th – or longer, depending on the situation.