Germany will face more than 19,000 new Covid-19 cases a day by Christmas if the current trend in infections isn’t halted, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Monday.
The country must act quickly to avoid the same rapid rise in cases that has been seen in neighboring countries such as France, Merkel told leaders of her party in a videoconference, according to a person who attended but declined to be identified. She said cases could eventually reach 19,200 a day in the meeting, which was closed to journalists.
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“The development of infection numbers is of great concern,” Steffen Seibert, Merkel’s spokesman, said at a regular press conference. “We’re seeing volatile increases in the number of infections locally and regionally, and they need to be brought under control.”
Germany has relied on extremely local crackdowns in the hardest-hit areas, aiming to avoid a replay of the harsh lockdown that plunged the country intorecession earlier this year. So far, it’s had more success than other large European economies. The country recorded about 11,000 cases last week, the Robert Koch Institute said on Sunday, while France has been reporting an average of about 12,000 cases each day.
Still, the virus is making a comeback in Germany. Two members of cabinet have gone into quarantine: Economy Minister Peter Altmaier and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. In the trendy, bar-filled neighborhoods that surround the Chancellery in Berlin, the seven-day incidence of infections climbed above 50 per 100,000 residents on Sunday, the RKI said. That puts central Berlin among the four areas with the highest Covid incidence in Germany last week.
Bild newspaper reported Merkel’s comments earlier.
— With assistance by Patrick Donahue
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