‘The mistake is mine’: Merkel turns back on Easter closure plan | News on the coronavirus pandemic
The German Chancellor backtracks on a hastily arranged proposal, calling it a “mistake” for which she was responsible.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has abandoned a five-day Easter shutdown plan in an attempt to contain a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic after the hastily crafted proposal sparked a backlash.
In talks that took place in the early hours of Tuesday, Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s 16 states agreed to call on citizens to stay at home for five days during the Easter break, declaring April 1 and April 3 as additional “days of rest”. Easter Sunday is April 4.
The measure would have meant that all stores, including essential stores, close for an additional day. This would have effectively created a five-day shutdown of public life on top of the existing lockdown restrictions, which were extended until April 18.
But the plan has come under heavy criticism, with companies lamenting more closures and medical experts saying the new measures were not tough enough to prevent the exponential spread of more infectious variants of the virus.
Turning back on Wednesday, Merkel said the idea was “drafted with the best of intentions” but ultimately proved to be a “mistake” and apologized for the additional uncertainty she raised for them. Germans.
“There were good reasons for this, but it could not be implemented well enough in this short period of time,” she told reporters. “This mistake is mine alone.”
The turnaround came as the number of infections in Germany rose again, fueled by the more contagious variant of the virus that was first detected in the UK at the end of last year and has now become dominant in the country.
Germany, with a total population of 83 million, reported 15,813 other infections on Wednesday. A week ago, there were 13,435 new cases.
The death toll nationwide has increased from 248 to 75,212.
However, the number of cases per 100,000 over the past seven days, which the government has used as a key indicator to decide on lockdown stages, has remained stable at 108.
Merkel said on Wednesday she was “convinced” that Germany would fend off the virus, but warned the country urgently needed to “stop and reverse the third wave of the pandemic”.
“The path is difficult and rocky, and it is marked by successes but also by mistakes and setbacks,” she said. “But the virus will slowly but surely become less scary.”
His comments come amid growing public frustration with Merkel’s conservative government over the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and the prolonged lockdown measures.
A poll released Wednesday showed the 66-year-old Christian Democratic Union party fell to its lowest level in more than a year before national elections in September.
Merkel, who has ruled Germany since 2005, has said she will not be running for a fifth term.