After consulting with Germany’s 16 regional governors, German Chancellor Angela Merkel Wednesday announced new restrictions on the size of gatherings to prevent the country’s coronavirus infection figures from accelerating.
At a Berlin news briefing following her virtual meeting with the governors, Merkel said she wants to act regionally and address the virus where it is surging rather than shut down the whole country, which she said should be avoided at all costs.
“In order to achieve this, we must have minimum standards for certain frequencies of infections," said Merkel.
The German chancellor said in places where there are more than 35 new infections per 100,000 residents recorded in a week, the number of people attending gatherings at public or rented facilities should be limited to 50 and no more than 25 should attend events in private homes.
She said that where infections hit at least 50 per 100,000 residents, those figures should be cut to 25 and 10 respectively.
Merkel said she expects the rate of infection to rise as the change in weather means more people will spend time inside in the coming months. She said the number of daily infections could rise to 19,200 in three months if the rate of infection continues as it has over the past three months.
“This underlines the urgency for us to act," said Merkel.
The chancellor also discouraged travel to high risk areas in Europe in the coming months, saying staying in Germany was a good option. She said low risk European nations such as Italy might be a good option, noting the number of COVID-19 cases are very low there now and “they are acting very carefully.”
Johns Hopkins University reports Germany has over 289,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and just over 9,450 deaths.