The vice chairman of the Union parliamentary group, Georg Nüßlein, called on Friday for a definitive end to the lockdown on February 14th.
“Due to the lockdown's massive impact, it is not responsible to keep imposing it nationwide until the incidence number falls below 50 or below 35,” the CSU politician told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.
“If something dramatic doesn't happen in the next few weeks – for example a massive spread of mutated viruses – then we'll have to take a different path from the current one by mid-February at the latest,” he said.
Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) also said he wants to start relaxing the rules in February, if it is possible. He told Die Welt newspaper he would start with schools and hairdressers.
“In March, we can then talk about retail. And after Easter it'll be the turn of gastronomy,” he said.
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The opening of schools has been a hotly contested issue during the pandemic.
CDU faction leader Ralph Brinkhaus warned against opening them too quickly.
“We are all doing ourselves no favours by allowing face-to-face teaching too soon,” he said.
“Health comes first,” he told the Passauer Neue Presse, adding that the new virus mutations made him “very worried.”
The dispute over an end to the lockdown comes as the rate of infection continues the downward trend seen through most of January.
German health offices reported 16,417 new infections to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within one day on Saturday morning. A further 879 deaths in connection with the virus were also recorded.
One week ago, the RKI recorded 18,678 new infections and 980 new deaths.
The highest number of new infections registered within 24 hours, 33,777, was reported on December 18th, although that number included 3,500 delayed reports.
The number of new infections reported within seven days per 100,000 inhabitants was 112.6 on Saturday morning, according to the RKI.
The peak incidence of 198 was reached on December 22nd last year.