BERLIN, Apr 24 (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday called on Germans to adhere to tougher coronavirus restrictions, imposed in areas with high infection rates over the weekend, and said the step was needed to break a third wave of infections.
Both houses of parliament passed amendments to the Infection Protection Act earlier this week to give the federal government more powers to combat the third wave of the pandemic.
Merkel drafted the law after some of the 16 federal states refused to implement stricter measures despite an increase in COVID-19 cases and in defiance of a closure agreement reached in March.
“This is something new in our fight against the pandemic. And I am convinced that it is urgently needed,” Merkel said in her weekly video podcast.
“It serves the goal of first slowing down the third wave of the pandemic, then stopping it, and finally reversing it.”
Like many other European countries, Germany is struggling to contain an aggressive third wave of cases, and efforts are complicated by the more contagious B117 variant, which first emerged in the UK, and a relatively slow start to vaccination. .
If the number of infections declines in the coming weeks, systematic testing will help enable a controlled and sustainable relaxation of restrictions, Merkel promised.
“And our vaccination campaign is gaining momentum. It is the key to overcoming the pandemic,” added the chancellor.
“I am convinced that if we can now achieve a significant and rapid reduction of infections, we will be able to relax them step by step for the foreseeable future,” Merkel said.
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