German politicians call for ban on private parties

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German politicians call for ban on private parties
Guests throw the groom in air at a Turkish wedding in Berlin. Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa

German lawmakers are calling for a ban on private parties, after the number of coronavirus infections in the country reached a four-month high.


Saskia Esken, chairwoman of the Social Democratic Party, said those continuing to hold parties at home were risking the freedoms of others in society. 
"We must not risk forcing kindergartens and schools to close again and that children to stay at home for weeks because we have allowed an increased infection rate by holding family celebrations with too loose rules," she told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS). 
Ralph Brinkhaus, parliamentary leader of the Christian Democratic Union, said it was "quite natural" that once the lockdown ended, people had "wanted to go out to meet friends and visit their families."
"Unfortunately, with the beginning of summer, a certain carelessness has spread - as you can see by the full beaches on the Baltic Sea or the crowds of young people everywhere in Germany, especially on the weekends." 
According to data from the Robert Koch Institute released on Saturday, the number of confirmed cases in Germany has risen by 2,034 to 232,082 over the preceding 24 hours, the highest number since the end of April. 
A large share of new coronavirus cases have been traced to private celebrations, FAS reported. 
In North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, 33 percent of new cases were infected celebrating or meeting friends at home, and in Berlin, as many as sixty percent of infections have been traced to private homes, with either cohabitants infecting one another, or visitors being infected at parties and family celebrations. 


Regional politicians in German warned that if rates of infections remained at current high levels, there was a risk of new lockdown measures.  
“Private celebrations are a very great danger,” Ursula Nonnemacher, the minister of health of Brandenburg, said.  
If the number of infections continues to rise “at this rate”, she added, there was another threat of “tough contact restrictions". "Everyone should be aware of that. "
Baden-Württemberg's health minister, Manfred Lucha, also warned of new restrictions. 
“If we notice that personal responsibility does not go far enough, we will have to restrict it more," she said.
"If it turns out that the citizens do not adhere to the standards, the region can and must take action".
North Rhine-Westphalia, Schleswig-Holstein, Berlin, and Lower Saxony also promised new restrictions. 
"It's not the time for parties," said Dilek Kalayci, Berlin's health minister.
Germany's federal Health Minister, Jens Spahn, warned that private parties were a problem at the beginning of the week and the possibility of legislation will be raised at the Conference of Ministers-President, a meeting of the leaders of Germany's 16 states, on Thursday. 



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