A full or partial lockdown is closer than many believe, said state premier Markus Söder after a Bavarian government meeting on Wednesday.
The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is now here, he said, adding: “We are facing tough weeks again, unfortunately.”
Söder said there was a danger of things “getting out of control here in Germany”. This week a lockdown was ordered in the district of Bercthesgadener Land in southern Bavaria. Söder said this kind of action was a “last resort”.
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What is Bavaria introducing?
The state is introducing a new level of restrictions from Thursday for regions that clock up on average more than 100 new infections per 100,000 residents in seven days.
When a district crosses this mark events will be limited to a maximum of 50 people and a curfew for bars and restaurants will be in place from 9pm.
Districts are already told to implement restrictions when they reach the 35 incidents per 100,000 residents in seven days, and then the 50 mark.
The new rules mainly affect cultural and club events, where up to 200 participants inside and up to 400 outside was allowed.
According to Söder, church services, university events and demonstrations, on the other hand, will remain possible with more participants even at an incidence rate of over 100.
Schools and daycare centres will also remain open if possible. But in the hospitality industry, on the closing time will be brought forward to 9pm if the incidence exceeds 100.
Will commuters have to be tested?
The state premier also wants to introduce compulsory testing for commuters from non-German coronavirus hotspots. In future, anyone who has been in a high-risk area within 14 days before entering the country and commutes to Germany to work will have to present a negative corona test once a week, he said.
“Our aim is to keep the borders open,” stressed Söder. To achieve this, however, more security must be ensured.
Söder urged for more solidarity from citizens. He said the measures to contain the virus should not be seen as rules of authority: “The current restrictions serve to protect everyone, which is why I believe they are justified,” he said.
Recently, more and more regions in Bavaria been reporting rising coronavirus cases.
According to Söder, 23 areas are currently above the level of 35 new infections per 100,000 in seven days, 34 above 50 and eight above 100. One area, the district of Berchtesgadener Land, is even above the peak value of 200 new infections per 100,000 in the last seven days – a record nationwide.
However, Bavarian Green Party leader Katharina Schulze accused Söder of using the corona crisis to raise his own profile.
“We all have to be team players when it comes to corona,” Schulze said