German lockdown: Angela Merkel calls for national closure after Covid infections spike

Vaccine row: Angela Merkel looks 'knackered' says expert

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Chancellor Angela Merkel has supported demands for a short, tough lockdown in Germany to curb the spread of the coronavirus as infection rates are too high. The country is struggling to tackle a third wave of the pandemic and several regional leaders have called for a short, sharp lockdown while the country tries to vaccinate more people.

Speaking on Wednesday Ms Merkel’s spokesman Ulrike Demmer said: “Every call for a short, uniform lockdown is right.” She added Germany was seeing a growing number of intensive care patients.

Referring to the number of cases over seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, she said: “We need a stable incidence below 100.”

The rate is currently 110.1, according to the Robert Koch Institute.

She also said that the government was looking at whether nationwide, rather than regional, measures were needed.

“The range of regulations does not help acceptance,” said Demmer. While some states have imposed night-time curfews over Easter, others are experimenting with some easing of restrictions.

The majority of Germany’s 16 federal state premiers was against bringing forward talks scheduled for April 12 on what action to take.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 9,677 on Wednesday to more than 2.9 million, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases said.

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It has warned that the numbers may not yet show the full picture as not all cases were registered over Easter.

Some 77,401 people have died.

The pandemic has driven the country to its highest deficit in 30 years.

Germany’s public sector deficit reached 189.2 billion euros in 2020 thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the first deficit since 2013 and the highest budget shortfall since German reunification three decades ago, the Statistics Office said.

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The pandemic has devastated Europe’s largest economy, even though it has proven more resilient than many expected, partly because of continuing strong export demand from China.

Public spending rose 12.1 percent to 1.7 trillion euros in 2020 as the government pulled out all the stops to offset the impact of months of lockdown, while tax take fell 3.5 percent to 1.5 trillion euros, the statistics office said on Wednesday.

The spending spree is set to continue, with German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz last month promising to do whatever was needed to enable Germany to spend its way out of a coronavirus-induced economic slump.

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