Germany’s new coalition government 'thwarted Merkel plan for two-week lockdown'

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 24 Nov, 2021 Updated Wed 24 Nov 2021 17:23 CEST
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Acting Chancellor Angela Merkel and incoming Chancellor Olaf Scholz appear together at press conference following a meeting on Covid regulations on November 18th, 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa POOL | Michael Kappeler

Germany’s new government thwarted a plan by outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel to put in place a two-week Austria-style national lockdown, German tabloid Bild reported on Wednesday.

One of Germany’s new ‘traffic light’ coalition government’s first actions was to overrule a plan by the government of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel to put in place an immediate two-week lockdown. 

Merkel put forth the proposal on Tuesday evening, and according to Bild the lockdown would have applied from Thursday onwards. It was however knocked back by the incoming government, who said it would have been interpreted by the public as a “bad political trick” in tandem by the old and the new government, Bild reported on Wednesday afternoon

Citing several sources close to the government, Bild said Merkel wanted to cut rising infection rates through a ‘handbrake’ style national lockdown, which would have included closures of bars, restaurants and shops. 

READ ALSO: LATEST: Germany’s next government sets out roadmap for post-Merkel era

Like Austria’s lockdown, which came into effect on Monday, November 22nd, the measure would have applied not only to the unvaccinated, but also to those who have been vaccinated against Covid or who have recently recovered from the virus. 

Germany’s new Infection Protection Act came into effect on Wednesday, which prevents such a nationwide lockdown and instead places greater responsibility on Germany’s 16 federal states. 

Therefore, the new act restricts the current government’s power to put in place a nationwide lockdown should it be deemed necessary and will require agreement from the states should harsher measures be adopted. 

Covid cases have been surging in Germany in recent days, hitting record heights. 

Several parts of the country, primarily in the heavily-hit south, have put in place restrictive measures including stay at home orders and requiring restaurants to close. 

READ ALSO: UPDATE: European countries ‘must act urgently’ amid worsening Covid outlook

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