'Shops won't close again': German Health Minister rules out second coronavirus lockdown

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 2 Sep, 2020 Updated Wed 2 Sep 2020 15:10 CEST
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Health Minister Jens Spahn says there would be less stringent measures put in place in Germany compared to March if coronavirus infections were to rise.

While out on the state election campaign trail in Bottrop, North Rhine-Westphalia, earlier this week, Spahn discussed the lockdown measures put in place to stem the spread of coronavirus – and said it would not happen again in this way should the infection rate rise.

In March, the government ordered the closure of businesses including hairdressers, pubs, restaurants as well as imposing contact restrictions. Visits to nursing homes were also banned.

Most businesses have since reopened. However some places, such as nightclubs, are still closed.

"With the knowledge today, I can tell you, no hairdressers would close down and no retailers would close down," said Spahn. "That will not happen again. We won't need any more bans on visits to the nursing homes.

"After all, we have learned something in recent months about how to protect ourselves without needing these measures."

READ ALSO: Germany 'can and will' avoid second lockdown as economy rebounds

'We are learning'

In Bochum on Tuesday, Spahn discussed the government's actions again.

He said the containment measures put in place on public life in Germany earlier this year were imposed according to the infection dynamics and the state of knowledge at the time.

READ ALSO: German economy should recover from coronavirus pandemic 'by end of next year or 2022'

"Everyday we are learning how better how to achieve the balance," he said.

He said the measures currently in place to slow the spread of the virus, such as mask wearing, reducing the size of gatherings, keeping distance and maintaining hygiene such as hand washing and airing rooms, were the "best weapons".

But in March it was the right thing to do “to be careful” and to introduce “harsh measures” such as closing schools and, and preventing people from visiting care homes.

Germany registered 1,256 new coronavirus cases within 24 hours and 16,400 registered active cases. More than 9,400 people have died.

Free Democrats leader Christian Lindner told Bild newspaper that Spahn's words show it is "right to always question government decisions".

It comes after 38,000 people attended demonstrations in Berlin on Saturday against government coronavirus measures.

READ ALSO: IN PICTURES: Police in Berlin halt anti-coronavirus demo

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