Germany is preparing to extend the lockdown due to concerns about new Corona virus variants

Germany is preparing to extend the lockdown due to concerns about new Corona virus variants

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wears a protective face mask as she leaves after speaking to the media at her annual summer press conference during the coronavirus pandemic on August 28, 2020 in Berlin, Germany.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to announce that Germany will extend its lockdown until March 14 amid fears of new strains of the Coronavirus.

A draft document emerged early Wednesday outlining plans between Merkel and state officials to maintain the lockdown and urging citizens to maintain social distancing rules, but to gradually lift some restrictions in the coming weeks.

Reopening schools is a priority of the German leadership, although the country’s federal system means that individual states are expected to be able to determine how to do so. Shops and hotels could begin reopening next month in regions where the infection rate is also low. The restrictions were due to expire on February 14.

There are concerns in Germany about the spread of more infectious variants of the virus, especially the mutation that was first discovered in the United Kingdom last fall. However, the daily number of new infections in Germany decreased amid the continued closure of public life across the country.

Public Health Authority, Robert Koch InstituteOn Wednesday, 8,072 new cases of coronavirus were recorded and 813 deaths, bringing the total number of infections so far to about 2.3 million, and the number of deaths to 62,969.

Earlier Wednesday, a German lawmaker reportedly described the situation as “extremely fragile”.

Slow rollout in the European Union

The slow spread of Coronavirus vaccines in Germany, As with the rest of the European Union, it is a source of concern for the German government, which is a major pillar of the bloc. The European Union has been slower than the United Kingdom and the United States to request vaccines from major pharmaceutical companies and face shortages of supplies.

The longer the vaccination deployments last, the longer the expected economic damage will be from the closures. The German economy contracted by 5% in 2020, According to full-year GDP data released in January.

Ludovic Sobran, Allianz’s chief economist, told CNBC on Wednesday that the start of slow vaccination could really hurt the EU’s broader growth prospects in 2021.

“I feel a little tense, and we are only in February, we lose the boat here, and vaccination is the best investment there and we must put all our forces (our efforts) there,” he said. CNBC “Street Signs Europe”.

“Our projections show that Europe will only return to pre-crisis (growth) levels by 2022, then we saw the vaccination mess and we started thinking, ‘Well, are we really putting the recovery at risk here?’ … The problem is, ” he added,” We are vaccinating four times slower than the kingdom. ” The United States and the United States are here, “adding:” This is a really big problem, because this will achieve or break the GDP recovery for Europe for 2021. “

—- Annette Weisbach of CNBC contributed to this article.

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