Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned Germans to expect ‘difficult months ahead’ as the country posts a new daily record of over 7,800 new coronavirus cases.
On Saturday she also urged Germans to come together like they did in the spring to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
‘Difficult months are ahead of us,’ she said in her weekly video podcast. ‘How winter will be, how our Christmas will be – that will all be decided in these coming days and weeks, and it will be decided by our behaviour.’
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (pictured) has told her citizens that ‘difficult months are ahead of us’ as Covid-19 cases continue to rise rapidly in the country lauded for its response to the virus
Germany, which was widely lauded for being able to slow the spread of the pandemic when it first broke out, has recently seen numbers climbing rapidly.
On Saturday, the country’s disease control centre, the Robert Koch Institute, reported 7,830 cases overnight, a new record in Germany.
Like most countries, Germany has been grappling with how to keep schools and businesses open, while trying to prevent people from coming into close contact with one another.
On Saturday, the country’s disease control centre reported 7,830 cases overnight, a new record in Germany. Pictured: A graph showing daily Covid-19 cases in Germany
In total, Germany has registered a total of 356,387 coronavirus cases, though a relatively low 9,767 deaths when compared with other major western European nations.
With the numbers again rising, however, Mrs Merkel urged Germans to avoid unnecessary travel, cancel parties and remain at home whenever it is possible.
‘What brought us so well through the first half year of the pandemic?’ she asked. ‘It was that we stood together and obeyed the rules out of consideration and common sense.
‘This is the most effective remedy we currently have against the pandemic, and it is more necessary now than ever.’
‘We have to go further,’ Merkel said. ‘I appeal to you: meet with fewer people, either at home or outside. Please forsake any journey that is not absolutely essential, every party that is not absolutely essential. Stay at home, where at all possible.’
Merkel’s appeal came as President Frank-Walter Steinmeier went into quarantine after a bodyguard tested positive for coronavirus, his office said. Steinmeier, whose role is largely ceremonial, has also been tested and is awaiting the result.
Germany has recorded a relatively low 9,767 deaths when compared with other major western European nations. The country reported 33 more deaths over night
German leaders have been unable to agree on tougher measures to contain a second wave. Courts in several regions have, meanwhile, overturned bans on hotel stays for visitors from infection hotspots.
Politicians and health experts have appealed to the public to take voluntary measures over and above those already prescribed – including wearing masks, social distancing and hand washing.
Merkel’s comments come the day after a Berlin court suspended an order for bars and restaurants to close from 11pm to 6am after finding that ‘it was not apparent’ such a measure could help fight coronavirus.
Ruling on a case brought by 11 restaurant owners, the administrative court noted that new infections in Germany currently stem from private gatherings of family and friends, at community facilities, meat-processing plants, religious gatherings or in connection with travel.
Closing food and drink establishments was therefore a ‘disproportionate encroachment on the freedom’ of the industry, the court ruled.
German authorities must now decide if they want to take the issue to a higher court to force bars and restaurants to close.
Pictured: People wait outside a Berlin bar displaying a sign with question marks in place of its closing time after a Berlin court suspended an order for bars and restaurants to close from 11pm to 6am
Meanwhile, new restrictions went into effect in several other European nations in an effort to staunch the resurgence of the pandemic.
In Paris and eight other French cities, restaurants, bars, movie theatres and other establishments were being forced to close no later than 9pm to try to reduce contact among people.
The country is deploying 12,000 extra police officers to enforce the new rules.
On Friday, the World Health Organisation warned that intensive care units in a number of European cities could reach maximum capacity in the coming weeks if the number of infections is not slowed.
Austrian foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg joined the list of top politicians who have tested positive for the virus, and was quarantined though he showed no symptoms, his office told Austria’s APA news agency.
In Paris and eight other French cities, restaurants, bars, movie theatres and other establishments were being forced to close no later than 9pm. Pictured: People spend time in a restaurant in Paris ahead of the 9pm curfew
The country is deploying 12,000 extra police officers to enforce the new rules. Pictured: Police officers patrol a Paris street before the curfew starts
A street lies empty in Paris after the 9pm curfew in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus
He has called off trips next week to Britain, Denmark, Greece and Cyprus.
In Germany’s neighbouring Czech Republic, the number of new infections surpassed 10,000 for the first time, surging to 11,105 on Friday, the health ministry said.
That was almost 1,400 more than the previous record set a day earlier and the country has now registered a total of 160,112 cases, including 1,283 deaths.
After a series of new restrictive measures adopted by the government to slow down the surge, health minister Roman Prymula said he still expects a rise of those testing positive for about two weeks.
In the Vatican, officials said someone who lives in the same Vatican hotel as Pope Francis tested positive for coronavirus, adding to the 11 cases of Covid-19 among the Swiss Guards who protect him.
Italy’s northern Lombardy region, where the European coronavirus outbreak began in late February, has taken new measures to contain rebounding infections, limiting bar service and alcohol sales, banning contact sports and closing bingo parlours.
Someone who lives in the same Vatican hotel as the Pope (pictured left) tested positive for the coronavirus, officials confirmed today
Italy’s northern Lombardy region has taken new measures to contain rebounding infections, limiting bar service and alcohol sales, banning contact sports and closing bingo parlours. Pictured: Police officers wearing face masks walk through a shopping centre in Milan
The regional government also called for high schools to adopt hybrid schedules, with students alternating in-person with online learning.
The measures were taken after Lombardy, Italy’s most populous region, once again become the most affected in the Covid-19 resurgence, adding more than 2,000 infections a day. Hospitals are coming under strain and intensive care units are filling up.
The new measures allow only table service for bars from 6pm, ban takeout alcohol sales from that time and prohibit all consumption of drink in public spaces, an effort to eliminate crowds from forming in piazzas with takeout drinks.
Italy’s other hardest-hit region, southern Campania, has taken similarly strict measures, including a shutdown of schools for two weeks. After parents protested, the regional governor backed off on Friday and allowed daycare centres to remain open.
In the capital, Rome, residents grumbled as numbers climbed, fearing a return to the strict country-wide restrictions that were imposed when the virus was spreading out of control.
‘The situation is critical thanks to the morons, because I call them morons, who have not respected the rules,’ said resident Mario Massenzi.
‘And if we fall back into the same situation as in March, we are finished.’