Chancellor Angela Merkel and her deputy, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, have prepared Germans in principle for a tightening of the current partial lockdown ahead of talks with the premiers of the country’s 16 federal states planned for Wednesday.
Restaurants, bars and other venues were closed for the month of November and contacts restricted to halt a spike in coronavirus cases that started in October.
In order to regain control of the pandemic and the tracking of contacts, one must “certainly still do a lot. But what exactly that is, I cannot and do not want to anticipate today,” Merkel said on Sunday in Berlin after the two-day online G20 summit.
The chancellor assured: “The citizens should receive a unified, joint answer from the federal and state governments. They actually have a right to that. And this time we’re working very hard on it. ”
At the latest meeting of the federal and state governments at the beginning of last week, Merkel wanted to implement stricter measures against the pandemic, but failed due to resistance from the states, which decide on health policy under Germany’s devolved system of government.
When they failed again to agree, there were much criticism of the disjointed approach to the pandemic as daily new infections reach record levels in Germany.
With a view to the upcoming negotiations, Merkel said that this time they wanted to present joint results on Wednesday. That is why there are a large number of roundtables taking place with everyone looking at the data and facts, she said.
“The fact is that we are not yet as far as we would have liked to get through the contact restrictions.”
In many federal states a plateau of new infections had been reached, in a few the numbers have also fallen significantly, while in others they have risen.
Scholz, who attended the G20 summit together with Merkel, said that the right thing had been done with the far-reaching restrictions that politicians put in place in November.
It is clear that, despite the visible results, this is not yet sufficient, because the development of the number of cases is not yet where the government wants it to be, he said.
“And that’s why everyone suspects that there must be an extension [to the November shutdown],” he said.
He had “the definite impression” from the discussions that he had with the state premiers on Sunday that they were working hard to “prepare a good proposal,” which the federal government could then agree on with the 16 states on Wednesday.