Merkel Says Pandemic Has ‘Slipped Out of Control,’ Bild Reports

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Chancellor Angela Merkel told party colleagues that Germany’s management of the coronavirus pandemic has “slipped out of control” and stricter curbs are needed to prevent a new wave of the disease, Bild newspaper reported.

Merkel said the potential threat from faster-spreading variants means Germany is “sitting on a powder keg,” Bild quoted her as saying Sunday during a video conference of CDU/CSU officials. “We have to get stricter or in 14 days we’ll be back where we were before,” she added, according to the paper.

Germany has been in partial lockdown since the beginning of November, with schools mostly closed, non-essential stores shuttered and travel reduced to a minimum until at least Feb. 14.

The measures appear to be working, with the seven-day incidence rate per 100,000 people falling to 107.6, from a high of almost 200 on Dec. 22, according to the latest data from the RKI public-health institute. Still, that’s more than double the level the government has determined to be manageable.

Merkel Says Pandemic Has ‘Slipped Out of Control,’ Bild Reports

More needs to be done, including to curtail travel as much as possible, to avoid a surge in infection rates triggered by the new mutations, the Bild reported Merkel as saying.

Reopening stores in mid-February is “not assured,” and Germany would first open schools and daycare centers, followed by stores and then restaurants, the chancellor said, according to the paper.

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