EXPLAINED: These are Germany’s planned new lockdown measures

EXPLAINED: These are Germany's planned new lockdown measures
Angela Merkel. Photo:dpa/AP/Pool | Michael Sohn
On Monday Chancellor Angela Merkel was set to meet with the 16 state leaders for a new round of talks on lockdown measures. With the Covid-19 case rate going up rapidly, more restrictions are expected. A leaked draft from Merkel's office shows what's planned.

Monday’s coronavirus numbers published by the Robert Koch Institute didn’t make for pretty reading. The 7-day incidence had shot up again to 107.3 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. With the third wave in the background, a new series of tough measures are expected to be announced on Monday evening.

A leaked document has revealed what Angela Merkel wants from the talks, but she will have to persuade the state leaders to come with her.

Lockdown well into April

Merkel and state leaders agreed to extend the current lockdown measures until April 18th, according to media outlets presents. They would next meet on April 12th to discuss next steps.

Emergency brake gets tougher

After several local governments have rebelled against the “emergency brake” – a clause in the last agreement that mandates a return to lockdown if the 7-day incidence rises above 100 – Merkel wants the brake to be pulled tighter this time around.

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Its implementation must be “consequently applied” her proposal states. Meanwhile, it would now also have to be enacted if a district has exponential growth below an incidence of 100.

And this could be the headline news: a new term of the emergency brake is a night-time curfew that would go on until 5am. When it starts will have to be negotiated. This paragraph is in parenthesis, which suggests that Merkel knows it will meet with resistance.

Schools and Kitas

The opening of schools and Kitas (day-care centres) would be conditional primarily upon test capabilities and not on incidence levels, according to the draft.

Schools and nurseries that do not have enough tests to check their children and teachers twice a week would have to be closed or would not be allowed to open.

This should make it possible to keep schools to stay open up to a 7-day incidence of 200. Above that number they would have to close and start distance learning again.

SEE ALSO: Are all German schools really going to open again before Easter?

Travel from abroad

Merkel wants to discuss the possibility of testing everyone who arrives in Germany from abroad, regardless of where they come from. But her office seems unsure of whether this plan will make it into the final agreement. The paragraph contains a note that “this must be checked.”

Domestic travel will continue to be discouraged.

READ MORE: These are the travel plans that could make it into Germany’s new lockdown pact 

Test projects

Each state is to pick out a region with low case numbers and test whether aspects of public life can be reopened using testing and contact tracing apps.

The proposal states that: “necessary conditions [for these pilot projects] are negative test results as an access requirement, IT-supported contact tracing and, if necessary, also for test verification, close feedback to the public health authorities, and clear discontinuation criteria in case of failure.”

Vaccination rollout

Without “significantly restrictive measures” the number of new infections will rise so quickly that an overload of the health system is “likely as early as April”, the draft states.

Due to the fact that progress on the vaccination rollout has been slow, the paper calls for “strict containment of the incidence of infection in the coming weeks”. This, it says, will lead to an “earlier return to normality and shorter restrictions overall and is thus warranted for health, economic and social reasons.”

Testing in the office

The draft states that companies should allow employees to work from home wherever possible. But in the event that staff still come into work, they need to be provided with an antigen test at least once a week.

Corona Warn-App

Germany’s coronavirus app is to be expanded in April with further functions, including an anonymous “event registration”. This allows users to digitally check in at an event such as a private birthday party or restaurant.

In case of a positive case, all participants will be warned after the event.

SEE ALSO: German states seek Covid restrictions extension into April as case rise continues 


Member comments

  1. America was a shit-show last year because it was an election year, now Germany is following the same pattern. The people suffer while parties vie for votes and “discuss” the next wave of oppression visited on citizens. It’s disgusting. I don’t think it’s a conspiracy per-say, but I think at this point it’s a dramatization of real events.

    Nothing is really open that has been shown to perpetuate the spread of covid, and people are forced to wear masks anyway. So either these masks don’t work (duh) or your lockdown doesn’t work. Do your job and advocate protection of the vulnerable, and let the rest of us get back to our normal lives. Stop acting like this is still April of 2020 and we don’t know how this thing spreads or who it affects.

    Provide FFP2 masks for those who need it, get your vaccination rollout under control, and stop wasting valuable time revisiting strategies that clearly don’t work.

    1. “I don’t think it’s a conspiracy per-say, but I think at this point it’s a dramatization of real events.”

      Yes, thank you! I could not have put it better. I am certainly tired of hearing “trust the science” from people (and governments) who don’t trust the science. If the science says there is no evidence that we should ever be wearing masks outdoors, then why do I need to wear a mask when I step outside my house?

      It’s a particularly nasty cycle: they push unscientific policies on us that we know will not curb the spread, then they blame us and say we must have been breaking the rules when those policies predictably do not work. Almost all respiratory viruses are seasonal and drop to very low levels during the summer before returning in the fall, but when COVID does that, they say it was because we “got sloppy” by living our lives during the warm months, and not because this virus behaves the same way as all of the other ones, was always going to go away in the summer, and was always going to come back in October no matter what we did. So now this year they will use that false logic to justify keeping things closed and people shut inside during the warm months when it can’t spread effectively anyway – when what we ought to be doing is stimulating economic activity and focusing on our mental and physical health by actually living while we have the chance for a few months.

    1. I’m not against conspiracy theories; anyone who thinks there are no conspiracies in the world is dreaming. But I’m trying to think about the sheer scale of the deception that would be necessary here. The thousands and thousands of scientists, for example, in every country that has been involved in vaccine production, who would know that it was a lie. The politicians in every country at every level of government involved with perpetuating this lie. How do you coordinate all those people and get 100% of them to stay silent? All it takes is one whistleblower.

      Does the media lie to us? For sure they do, probably more than they tell the truth. But I feel like a successful conspiracy big enough to pull off a fake vaccination would be astronomically unlikely.

      We can’t trust anything these days, so we have to think for ourselves and question everything. For me, a fake vaccine… I just can’t get there with first principles reasoning. Maybe I’m delusional, but I think it’s much more likely that the vaccines are real. I mean if nothing else, the companies (and countries) that produce them are in direct competition with one another, which seems like it would create greater incentives to rat on each other than to all fall in line with some grand plan.

      1. I responded directly to a comment below that says
        ‘Get us the vaccine and end the perpetual lockdown’

        I just wanted to state the fact (which some people still seem to be unware of) that the current ‘vaccines’ do not stop the spread but it has been said that fortunately they can reduce symptoms.
        Therefore, until an effective vaccine appears how will ‘perpetual lockdown’ come to an end?
        I’m not exactly sure why you mentioned conspiracy theories or a fake vaccine in reply to my comment.

        1. Principally because you put ‘vaccine’ in quotes. There’s a lot of it going around and I assumed that’s where you were going.

          The issue of whether these vaccines can stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2 seems to be anything but settled, so I’m not sure where you’re getting the case for a categorical statement.

          https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00450-z

          However, you’re right, I wasn’t aware of the fact that the vaccines are principally aimed at the symptoms rather than the virus itself, so thank you for pointing that out. It certainly calls into question why we’re talking for example about vaccine passports to allow for international travel if there’s a solid chance that a vaccinated person can still transmit the virus. Certainly the policies that are being discussed would suggest that politicians believe the vaccines will stop the spread. It’s a bit alarming for me to discover that this may not actually be true.

          All that said, I wonder why we would stay locked down once the population is vaccinated. There are viruses around us all the time and we’ve never locked down before – even when like the flu they kill 500,000 people a year. Most coronaviruses simply don’t harm us significantly , so we don’t feel the need to stop them from spreading. If that’s the condition that the vaccine creates, then why would we need to stay locked down?

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