Angela Merkel warned that Germany is on the verge of losing control of its fight against the COVID-19, reportedly telling colleagues from her Christian Democratic party this morning “the situation is threatening” and “every day counts”, writes Kate Connolly, the Guardian’s Berlin correspondent.
At the internal meeting of the CDU, details of which were leaked to the media by participants, the chancellor warned of “very, very difficult months ahead” and said that “every day counts” in terms of tackling the virus’s spread.
On Friday, she will hold a meeting with the leaders of the 16 states where it is expected they will agree on tougher nationwide restrictions than those currently in place.
Merkel used her weekly podcast at the weekend to renew her insistence that people were not powerless to control the virus, and to appeal to them to “reduce contacts” as this was the most convincing measure to tackle it.
She said even though “people expect politicians to come up with new words” her message had not changed, and so she would simply go ahead and repeat her podcast from the previous week. The old podcast was promptly blended in.
Jens Spahn, the health minister, who is in quarantine having been diagnosed with coronavirus last week, appealed in a video message for people to stop believing those who were attempting to downplay the severity of the virus, adding that Germany’s health system was in danger of being overwhelmed if the number of new cases was not kept in check.
Meanwhile, authorities in Berlin, which already for several weeks has been considered one of the nation’s coronavirus hotspots, have said they will veer away from tracking and tracing those infected with coronavirus due to a lack of resources, and will rely instead on infected persons taking responsibility for themselves and going into isolation at home as well as taking the initiative in contacting people with whom they have been in touch.
The health authorities will switch their focus on to the vulnerable instead, including medical personnel, patients in hospitals and care homes as well as homeless people.
Berlin cases have been well over 100 per 100,000 for many days, over double the critical 50 per 100,000 marker.