December 13th, German Chancellor Merkel announced at an emergency new round of coronavirus summit that Germany will tighten restrictions on public life on a large scale from December 16 and implement a “hard blockade order” until January 10 next year.
Although it has been about six weeks since the implementation of the “light blockade order”, the epidemic in Germany has not shown any signs of improvement, and even the number of new confirmed cases and deaths of COVID-19 every day has both reached a new high recently.
To this end, the German government urgently held a new round of coronavirus summit on the 13th local time, focusing on whether to implement stricter restrictions before or after the Christmas holiday.
After consulting with the governors of the federal states on the epidemic situation, German Chancellor Merkel announced that restrictions on public life will be tightened on a large scale from December 16 to implement a “hard blockade” until January 10 next year.
According to Merkel’s press conference on the same day, all retail stores except for daily necessities must be closed; primary and secondary schools and kindergartens should theoretically be closed, but emergency child care is allowed; social contact restrictions must remain as usual. Although they can be appropriately relaxed during the holiday period to allow gatherings, they do not include children.
The maximum number of people should be five, and it should be “very close relatives and friends, such as spouses or immediate family members”, the details can be determined by each federal state; fireworks and firecrackers are prohibited on New Year’s Eve, and gatherings are not allowed; religious activities can be carried out while ensuring a safe distance between people; and barbershops shall not be opened.
Merkel pointed out on the 13th that the “light lockdown order” implemented since early November was obviously not strong enough, and the recent epidemic in Germany has shown an “exponential growth” momentum, forcing the government to take another action to prevent the public health system from overloading.
She also promised to provide more economic support policies to help businesses and individuals tide over difficulties.