German Lockdown Likely to Be Extended Until End of February

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Germany is likely to extend its Covid-19 lockdown for another two weeks when Chancellor Angela Merkel and state government leaders meet next week, people familiar with the discussions said.

Chancellery officials in Berlin have concluded it’s too early to lift the restrictions even though new infections are declining, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions aren’t public. States may be allowed to reopen schools and day-care centers in areas where the infection rate is considerably lower than 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

The measures, to be discussed at a meeting on Wednesday, will depend on Merkel’s conclusions based on a study about the spread of mutant virus strains in Germany. Merkel’s spokesman declined to comment when asked to comment on the extension.

With Europe, including Germany, lagging the U.K. and U.S. in its drive to vaccinate people, Merkel signaled this week she views a premature lifting of curbs as too risky. The virus has caused more than 2.2 million deaths and devastating economic damage.

German Lockdown Likely to Be Extended Until End of February

“We must stand on solid ground so we can open without having to close again soon,” Merkel said in an RTL interview on Thursday. “We need to be very careful in this last stretch so that not so many people die.”

The premier of Schleswig-Holstein state, Daniel Guenther, has already presented a detailed plan for lifting the lockdown. Bavarian premier Markus Soeder, whose state still has high infection rates in certain areas, opposes lifting restrictions.

The chancellery will seek to ensure that Germany’s 16 states follow a coherent reopening strategy, one of the people said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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