Merkel appeals to Germans to stay home now to save Christmas
In view of the continuing rise in the number of corona infections, Chancellor Angela Merkel made an urgent appeal on Saturday for the people of Germany to help contain the pandemic.
"We must now do everything we can to prevent the virus from spreading uncontrollably. Every day counts," Merkel said in her weekly podcast.
"I ask you. Please refrain from any trip that is not really necessary, from any celebration that is not really necessary. Please stay at home, at your place of residence, whenever possible."
Germany is in a "very serious phase", the Chancellor continued. "Day after day, the number of new infections is increasing rapidly."
The coronavirus is spreading rapidly again in Germany, with recorded cases rising faster than at the beginning more than half a year ago.
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"The comparatively relaxed summer is over, now we are facing difficult months," said Merkel. "What winter will be like, what our Christmas will be like, will be decided in the coming days and weeks. We all influence that through our actions."
On Saturday morning health authorities in Germany reported 7,830 new corona infections within one day, a record since the beginning of the pandemic.
At the same time, testing capacity is considerably greater now than back in March.
Merkel stressed that, in order to prevent the virus from spreading uncontrollably, contact persons for every infected person would have to be notified in order to interrupt the chains of infection.
"The health authorities are doing a great job, but where the number of infected people is too high, they cannot keep up," she said.
Merkel asked: "So what can each and every one of us contribute to bringing the numbers down again? A lot, most of it simply by keeping a minimum distance, wearing the right mouth and nose protection, and observing the rules on hygiene."
"The science clearly states that the spread of the virus is directly linked to the number of contacts and encounters that everyone has. If each of us now significantly reduces the number of encounters outside our own family for a while, we can succeed in stopping and reversing the trend towards more and more infections," said added.
"That is precisely my appeal to you today: meet with significantly fewer people, whether outside or at home. You know that this not only sounds tough, but in individual cases it is also a difficult decision to make," said the Chancellor.
"But we only have to do it temporarily, and in the end we do it for ourselves: For our own health and that of all those whom we can spare from illness."
Germany came through the first six months of the pandemic relatively well because "we stood together" and followed the rules, Merkel said.
"This is the most effective remedy we currently have against the pandemic. Now it is more necessary than ever.
Last Wednesday, the federal and state governments tightened measures to contain the virus in corona hotspots.
But there was no uniform line on the controversial Beherbergungsverbot - a ban on accommodation for holidaymakers from risk areas. In several states, courts have now overruled the ban on providing accommodation.
According to DPA information, Merkel expressed her dissatisfaction with the decisions during consultations with state leaders in the Chancellor's Office.
"Our announcements are not hard enough to avert disaster," said the CDU politician, according to unanimous statements by participants. "It is simply not enough what we are doing here."