Earlier today, Merkel announced that there will be a stricter national lockdown in Germany. This comes after the Robert Koch Institute recorded the country’s highest ever number of COVID-19 cases within 24 hours on Thursday, despite Germany’s current ‘lockdown light’. The new restrictions include the closure of shops and schools and will come into place on Wednesday 13th December. The lockdown is set to be in place until at least January 10th, with federal states planning to temporarily relax measures over the Christmas period.
Some federal states had already introduced new restrictions earlier this week. In Bavaria, Wednesday brought the introduction of local curfews and partial school closures, as its State Premier, Markus Söder, echoed the fears of epidemiologists that Germany has not been able to control the second wave. Söder argued that it is “morally and ethically unacceptable” to not act, noting that in Bavaria someone dies of COVID-19 every 20 minutes.
European health union
At the last EU Summit under German Presidency, Angela Merkel has called for a joint European health union, that would see a more integrated approach to healthcare across the EU. Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Merkel highlighted the increased cooperation between member states during the coronavirus pandemic and said that this had convinced her of the need for a fully-fledged union.
Election date set
The date of Germany’s next major election has also been set this week. September 21, 2021, has been confirmed as the date on which Germans will elect a new parliament – and crucially, a new chancellor.