In Brief: German leaders tighten some coronavirus restrictions, but fail to deliver comprehensive plan during meeting

Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly became angry about the stalemate and warned the premiers it would only lead to them having to meet again in two weeks.

Photo by Claudio Schwarz at Unsplash

 

 

By Monika Müller-Kroll, Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson and Kate Brady

Updated at 8:15 a.m.

Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Germany’s 16 state premiers late into the night on Wednesday, but they failed to come up with a comprehensive plan to curb the skyrocketing coronavirus numbers across the country. It was their first face-to-face meeting since June.

She reportedly became angry about the stalemate and warned the premiers it would only lead to them having to meet again in two weeks.

Merkel later told reporters she was “unsatisfied” with the lack of concrete measures, especially in tourism and travel, before the end of the fall holidays on Nov. 8. So for now, the confusing, state-by-state approach as to whether or not people from high-risk areas are prohibited from staying overnight in hotels continues.

Merkel also said the government is “prophylactically” dropping the red line in the “traffic light” system for maximum infections to 35 per 100,000 people over seven days, with restrictions recommended in those areas, but not mandated.

Among the agreements reached was that in hot spots like Berlin, where there are more than 50 infections per 100,000 people, mandatory restrictions will take effect, including closing restaurants and bars by 11 p.m., banning alcohol sales after those hours and widening masking requirements.

Also in hot spots, no more than 10 people will be allowed to celebrate together in public and no more than 10 people from two households may gather privately. There is also a 100-person maximum at events.

Some officials said a more restrictive lockdown similar to that of last spring is likely if the numbers don’t go down in the next 10 days.

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In the neighboring Netherlands, Dutch PM Mark Rutte has already put the country under partial lockdown as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants were closed Wednesday night for the foreseeable future. Face masks are also now required in all closed public spaces.

Announcing the tighter restrictions, Rutte spoke of an “alarming situation.”

Under the new measures, the sale of alcohol is also prohibited after 8 p.m., and citizens are allowed no more than three guests per day in their apartments.

The cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam remain the Dutch cities worst hit by COVID-19.

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There is a new royal in the German capital — Sir Donald Runnicles, the general music director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. He was recently knighted as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honors.

The Scottish conductor received the title of Knight Bachelor for his outstanding services to music in Europe and abroad.

Runnicles has been with the Deutsche Oper Berlin for 11 years. He is also the music director of the Grand Teton Music Festival in Wyoming.

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.

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