— Travel n Tour

Germany extends virus lockdown till mid-April as cases rise

BERLIN (AP) – Germany has extended its lockdown measures by another month and imposed several new restrictions, including essentially shutting down public life over Easter to drive down the rate of coronavirus infections. Speaking early Tuesday after a lengthy

video call with the country’s 16 state governors, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that restrictions set to run through March 28 will remain in place until April 18. Coronavirus infections have increased steadily in Germany as the more contagious variant first detected in Britain has become dominant. The country’s daily number of cases per capita has passed that of the United States.


“We have a new pandemic,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin.

“Essentially, we have a new virus, obviously of the same type but with completely different characteristics,” she added. “Significantly more deadly, significantly more infectious (and) infectious for longer.”

Since their last meeting three weeks ago, which saw the two sides agree on a multi-step plan to relax restrictions, several states have tried to avoid going back into tougher lockdowns when the weekly number of new infections exceeds 100 per 100,000 residents for three consecutive days.

Merkel made clear that she wouldn’t accept that.

“Unfortunately, we will have to use this emergency brake,” she said.

The weekly infection rate per 100,000 people stood at 107 nationwide on Monday, up from the mid-60s three weeks ago. Officials agreed to essentially shut down public life from April 1-3, adding a public holiday and shutting down most stores. Public gatherings will be banned from April 1-5 to encourage people to stay home. Amid concern over the rise in Germans traveling abroad on holidays, authorities also agreed on a blanket requirement for air travelers to be tested for COVID-19 before boarding a flight to Germany.

Drawing up legally watertight rules has proved a headache at times. In Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, a court said Monday it struck down laws requiring people to get appointments to visit shops. It said they violated a requirement that businesses get equal treatment.

The state government promptly reinstated the rules, tightening them for some businesses – such as bookshops and garden centers – that were previously exempt.

According to Tuesday’s agreement, authorities will aim to offer free tests to all students and teachers in German schools, many of which have only recently reopened after months of remote teaching.

Merkel said Germany, which had comparatively low deaths during the first phase of the pandemic last spring, has seen “successes but also of setbacks” and insisted that the situation improve as more people get vaccinated. Germany‘s vaccination campaign has so far lagged behind expectations, with only about 9% of the population receiving at least a first shot and 4% receiving both doses by Sunday.

“It’s difficult for longer than we thought,” said Merkel. “But there’s light visible at the end of the tunnel.” Asked about the EU’s plans to restrict the export of vaccines and components, Merkel said she supported efforts by the bloc’s executive Commission to ensure contracts are fulfilled, citing the supply problems the EU has had with the AstraZeneca shot.

Britain, which left the EU last year, has strongly protested against the plans, fearing getting cut off from deliveries. Merkel said she and French President Emmanuel Macron had recently spoken to Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the issue. EU leaders would aim to reach a decision “in a responsible way” at a virtual summit Thursday.

AP journalist Geir Moulson contributed to this report.

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at:




Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button