Merkel warns that the worst of the pandemic is yet to come

Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel warned this Saturday that the worst is yet to come in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic. “The next winter weeks will be the most difficult phase of the pandemic,” Merkel said in her traditional Saturday video message to the population, this time the first in 2021.

The head of the German government stressed that the current and high numbers of infections that are registered in Germany do not yet reflect the effects of the celebrations Christmas and New Year’s Eve, while commented that hospitals work in many regions of the country at the limit of their capacities to treat the most serious cases. These facts justify that the “hard closure” of public life in this country has lasted until the beginning of Februarysaid Merkel, who recalled that the objective of the strict restrictions is to ensure that health offices can again trace the chains of infections by reducing the incidence of the virus to less than 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in a week, when no city The German region is currently under 100 and many are over 200.

“Prudence in these difficult weeks of January and consideration for others will bear fruit,” said the head of the German government, for whom “the measures adopted before Christmas are tough, but imperatively essential” and which will last until February to slow the spread of the disease. Among them the closing of schools and kindergartens, shops that do not sell basic necessities, all bars and gastronomy, as well as all cultural or sports centers.

“The more consistent we are today, the faster we will regain control and the shorter the time we have to live with these restrictions,” Merkel said in her video message, in which she expressed her hope that the start of the campaign of vaccination help to improve the situation. The Federal Chancellor assured that vaccinations will be accelerated and increased little by little and that there will be enough vaccine for the entire population that wishes to be inoculated.


What politics is now discussing

Angela Merkel, Jens Spahn and Olaf Scholz

The government could decide to tighten the measures in the coming week.

(Photo: imago images / Eibner)

Berlin Actually, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the Prime Minister did not want to discuss a possible extension and tightening of the lockdown until January 25. The federal-state conference was brought forward to this Tuesday – because of concerns about mutations of the coronavirus, which are considered to be significantly more contagious. Science still has no clear answers as to how justified these fears really are. But caution rules.

The new CDU boss and North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister, Armin Laschet, said on ZDF that he was assuming “that we will again tighten the situation.” Union parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU) also insisted on a harder lockdown. “The Prime Minister’s Conference has to decide on tightening so that we can finally get the numbers down,” he told the “Rheinische Post”. Brinkhaus also referred to the mutation of the corona virus, which presumably came from Great Britain.

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What politics is now discussing

Berlin Germany continues to struggle with high numbers of infections: This Friday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 22,368 new corona infections within 24 hours and a seven-day incidence of 149 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. At the same time, the spread of two significantly more contagious virus mutations is a cause for concern. Scientists believe it is possible that this is one reason why the number of infections has stopped falling.

Given the current situation, Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to bring the meeting with the Prime Minister forward. It should take place on Tuesday, said government spokesman Steffen Seibert – and not on January 25, as originally planned.

Merkel had previously received support from the country leaders to bring the talks forward. Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) said on Thursday evening on the ZDF program “Maybritt Illner” that he was expecting a meeting in the coming week. Malu Dreyer, Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, remarked on this Friday morning in the ZDF morning magazine that she would have pleaded to meet earlier anyway.

The discussion about tightening the measures is gaining momentum in politics; more and more proposals – old and new – are being debated.

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Read an overview of the current status of the discussion here:

1. Completely close schools and kindergartens

Saxony’s Prime Minister Kretschmer believes that significantly tougher restrictions are necessary. On ZDF, he advocated shutting down kindergartens “completely” and closing schools. This would mean that the facilities would only offer emergency care for parents in systemically important professions. This corresponds to the regulation in the first lockdown in spring 2020. However, emergency care in schools could also be further restricted

In addition, the measures in the individual federal states are already different. While in North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, in principle all pupils should study from home by January 31st, provided they are not in emergency care, in Saxony, for example, pupils in the final year should attend school again from January 18th.

2. Increase the protection of nursing homes

Saxony’s Prime Minister Kretschmer suggests “entry bans” unless there is a negative rapid test. In Berlin, Health Senator Dilek Kalayci (SPD) announced on Thursday that residents may not receive any more visitors for the time being if a corona case occurs in the facility. A large proportion of the people who died from or with Corona lived in old people’s and nursing homes.

People are particularly at risk due to their age and possible previous illnesses. Nevertheless, measures like those in Berlin are controversial. Critics point out how important contact with relatives is for residents.

3. Send more employees to the home office

Labor Minister Hubertus Heil became clear in an interview with the Handelsblatt: That employees should work from home wherever possible is “not just any appeal, but a very clear message from the federal and state governments to the economy,” said the SPD Politician. As long as people take buses and trains to the office or factory, there is a risk that they will infect themselves or others while they are on the way or at work.

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is therefore addressing employers and employees again this Friday in a joint appeal with employer President Rainer Dulger and DGB boss Reiner Hoffmann to switch to the home office even more than before.

A legal obligation is not so easily possible. Although the pandemic could justify interference with the employer’s right to determine the place of work, the director of the Institute for Labor Law and Social Security Law at the University of Bonn, Gregor Thüsing, told Handelsblatt.

“But proportionality must be maintained.” In other words, as long as the hygiene regulations at the workplace can also be complied with by other means, the employer cannot ban employees to their homes. “Home office cannot be mandatory for ventilation, distance and mask at the workplace,” said Thüsing.

4. Restrict local public transport

So far, it is unclear what restrictions will be imposed on local public transport. The President of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, sees an urgent need for action here. He justified this with the fact that the population restricts their mobility significantly less than in the first lockdown in spring. On Sundays in December, for example, it was shown that people were out and about much more often than in spring.

The first tougher measures are already emerging in politics. “The local public transport, not so many people are allowed to ride. From my point of view, that is the order of the day, ”said Saxony’s Prime Minister Kretschmer. The “Bild” newspaper reported that the Chancellery was thinking about stopping local and long-distance public transport. CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak denied the report.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert emphasized that it was about fewer contacts in local public transport. “What it doesn’t mean is: to stop public transport.”

Criticism of such considerations comes from the opposition. “More than half of the employees cannot work from home, should they sit even closer in the public transport?” Tweeted the deputy chairman of the left-wing parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Susanne Ferschl. Either you expand the clocking or you really have to shut down operations. “Wash me, but don’t get me wet” doesn’t work, says Ferschl.

5. Close entire businesses

The SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach urged the companies to do their part to bring the lockdown to a successful end. “Otherwise we may at some point be forced to shut down factories too. We might even have to approach industrial production, ”he told the newspapers of the Funke media group. But nobody could want that.

The Association of the Chemical Industry (VCI) and the Federal Chemical Employers’ Association (BAVC) clearly opposed such mental games.

Since the chemical-pharmaceutical industry is making key contributions to containing the pandemic – in vaccine production, the manufacture of essential drugs or as the most important upstream supplier for diagnostics, medical and laboratory equipment manufacturers – such a measure would considerably weaken the fight against corona, according to a press release of the two associations. In addition, the closure of factories is not economically justifiable for the industrial nation of Germany.

6. Stricter contact rules

After research by the business magazine “Business Insider”, the Chancellery is examining a tightening of the Corona contact rules. Accordingly, for an as yet indefinite period of time, only meetings with a permanent person outside of one’s own household should be allowed, according to government circles. So far: You can only meet one person privately and publicly, but you can do that with friends from different households.

This one-friend rule could then become the one-friend rule. How this could be implemented in practice is unclear. The reaction of the countries according to “Business Insider”: “That’s rubbish”.

7. Force vaccination

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig (SPD) calls for more speed in vaccination. It is of no use if the supply only improves in the second quarter, said the SPD politician on ZDF. However, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) had dampened the hope that high numbers could be available very quickly. Nevertheless, things are progressing: “Today we have 840,000 people vaccinated in Germany,” he said on Thursday. “The first percent of the population is vaccinated.”

This goes hand in hand with the discussion about a possible vaccination requirement for certain groups. Bavaria’s Prime Minister Söder had brought the nursing staff into play to counter the low willingness of the group. Health Minister Jens Spahn rejected this. “There will be no compulsory vaccination in this pandemic,” says the CDU politician.

8. Curb the spread of the mutation

“We need more test sites that can recognize the mutation”, demands Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) in the newspapers of the Funke media group. Health Minister Spahn had announced that he wanted to counter the mutation with further entry restrictions and tests. In addition, this week it will be decreed that a lot more research will be carried out into the extent to which mutations occur.

9. Obligation to wear an FFP2 mask

Bavaria has shown the way: In the Free State, from January 18, it is mandatory to wear an FFP2 mask in public transport and when shopping. “Compared to all the holey scarves, some of which are there, and community masks worn for around eight months that you can find in public transport, an FFP2 mask is a clear improvement in every respect,” Prime Minister Söder justified his decision.

After initial criticism, masks are now also to be made available free of charge for those in need. The prices for masks had already risen after Söder’s announcement. Such a duty could also be extended to the federal government. However, experts emphasize that the availability of the masks and the correct handling are essential.

The President of the Society for Aerosol Research, Christof Asbach, warned against misconceptions regarding the safety of FFP2 masks. These would not offer 100% protection even if they were worn perfectly, Asbach told the German press agency.

More: Dealers are preparing for corona lockdown until Easter – and fear bankruptcies


“I always give up part of my salary,” says Marisa Matias in an interview with CMTV – Politics

Almost 45 years old, MEP Marisa Matias says she maintains the values ​​of the village girl. He gives up part of what he earns and guarantees that he did not get bored.

CM – In 2016 it passed 10%. What is the bar now?
Marisa Matias – I want to reinforce the result. I was here before the elections and I will be the next day, and the result is not indifferent. In 2016, I was able to follow up on flags such as informal caregivers. I have and I hope to have an electoral expression that allows to continue these struggles.

–What distinguishes you from Ana Gomes?
– So many things. There is no more left in these elections.

-Couldn’t you have concentrated more?
– I never saw politics in a utilitarian way. I am in the campaign because we need firm commitments in areas where we are blocked: in precariousness, in banking. I introduce myself to do this campaign, there is space for it and there is a need. The Government and the President the Republic, with the convergences they had, created blockades.

–BE was penalized in polls for not voting in favor of the OE. Do you fear that there will be an effect?
– When we heard the Government announce support for the self-employed, and that was a reason for the lack of understanding, we realized that not only were we right, but the Government is going to seek more support for these workers. There is a recognition that the support we said was needed was not guaranteed in the OE.

–What will change in the campaign with the confinement?
– I thought about the campaign for the pandemic. I’m not going to cancel street parties, rallies and dinners because I don’t have one. The actions were designed to comply with the instructions of the health authorities. But people have to be heard and the campaign is the period to give visibility to struggles. I will do more modest actions, but people’s voices have to be heard.

–BE has Marisa, Catarina Martins, the Mortágua sisters. Is it a symbol of feminine power?
– In Portugal we don’t have any more women in politics. The day will come when we don’t have to question the presence.

-He made a list with only women on a board in Coimbra …
– Because 99.9% of the lists to the boards had only men.

–The action of Merkel and Von der Leyen. Isn’t there anything feminine about what you have drawn up in the last year for the EU?
– I tend to disagree with Merkel’s policies, but what brings us together or distinguishes us is not the fact that we are the two women, it is what we defend.

-He grew up in a village, in Alcouce, in the midst of a modest family. I had to walk miles to go to school. Did that mark you?
– It clearly marked me in the deep defense of public services, so that it is not the fact that we are born poor that determines opportunities.

–Since 2009 you belong to the European political elite. MEPs have salaries above the President.
– Yes, they are very high.

-That changed the girl in the village. Did you get bored?
– No, just look at me [risos]… Wages are high, especially when compared to Portugal, but at no time did I give up part of the wage.

-Abdict in favor of what?
– There are situations that are public of appeals for artistic projects or aid to those who have no money to defend themselves in legal proceedings. And there are others that deserve privacy. I don’t give money to the party, but I maintain this practice. I argue that no one should get rich at the expense of exercising political office.

– Should MEPs earn less?
– My fight is to fight the wages of misery that we still have. I have been with women who are at risk of eviction and see that they earn the minimum wage and pay 400 € of income … It is impossible to live like this. You do not need to explain to me why I have already earned the minimum wage.

-What did Marcelo do in the term he would never do?
– One of the areas has to do with the relationship with the bank. We have always been in opposite fields, from Banif to BES. Another is the precariousness: Marcelo should have vetoed the law that extended the trial period and these were the people who lost ground in the pandemic.


Chancellor Merkel’s final wishes under the banner of “difficult times”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s New Year’s greetings were eagerly awaited on Thursday, December 31, across the Rhine. If it was indeed a speech to invite his fellow citizens to welcome the New Year, they also had the color of twilight for the current Chancellor, still young – she is 66 years old – but who will step down in the fall of 2021, at the end of her third term (she became Chancellor in 2005).

“Winter remains difficult”

The “Historical crisis” of the coronavirus is expected to continue in 2021, even if the vaccine provides“Hope”, wished to warn Angela Merkel from the outset, dressed for the occasion in a bronze blouse, the German and European flags on her left, an image of the night front of the Bundestag behind her. “These days and weeks (…) are difficult times for our country. And it will last a long time ”, said the Chancellor in her speech in the dark tone, referring to “Something that happens once every hundred years”. “Winter remains difficult”, she added.

→ REPORT. Covid-19: Germany between hope of vaccination and call for patience

Unlike what happened in the spring, in fact, Germany is hit first and foremost, and for the time being more than its European neighbors, by the second wave of the coronavirus, so that the government had to decree a new partial confinement at least until January 10.

In total, 33,791 people succumbed to the virus in Germany in 2020, or just over half of France (64,632), but these figures are currently soaring, according to the latest figures from the Robert health watch institute. Koch (RKI). And Germany, for the first time on Tuesday, December 29, crossed the symbolic threshold of a thousand deaths recorded in a single day (1,122), although with, no doubt, a catch-up effect, the regional health authorities having previously sent incomplete data due to Christmas holidays.

“Cynical and cruel” conspiracy theories

“The challenges posed to us by the pandemic remain immense”, nonetheless insisted Angela Merkel, thanking the vast majority of Germans for having respected the instructions for reducing contacts aimed at combating the spread of the virus, and the front-line staff, who “Surpassed” since the beginning of the crisis.

The Chancellor castigated the movement of “corona-skeptics” in the country, which stood out in 2020 by several major demonstrations, partly accompanied by violence. “I can only imagine the bitterness felt by those who mourn a loved one because of the coronavirus, or those who continue to suffer from after-effects, when the existence of the virus is contested or denied by some”, she said, denouncing in passing the ” conspiracy theories “ : “Not only false and dangerous, they are also cynical and cruel towards these people”.

Angela Merkel still wanted to give hope to her fellow citizens, by evoking the start of vaccinations in the country and in Europe, in retirement homes and nursing staff. “We have never, despite the concerns, been so eager to enter a new year”, she judged.

A year which, for itself, will end with a goodbye tune. Angela Merkel will step aside after the legislative elections on September 26, in circumstances which, for the time being, resemble an immense fog: no one, at this stage, can say who will deliver this speech in her place, on December 31, 2021 Nor what will be the color of this speech …


Corona restrictions: payment of November aid delayed due to embarrassment – WELT

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CHANCELLOR INTERVESTS: This is how Angela Merkel wants to bring order to the corona vaccination chaos – WELT news channel

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Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel analyze the “joint production of vaccines” against the coronavirus

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the possibility of a “joint vaccine production” against the coronavirus, the Kremlin announced on Tuesday.

In a telephone conversation, Merkel and Putin discussed “questions of cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic “and” the potential prospects for joint vaccine production were emphasized, “according to a Kremlin statement.

At the moment Russia has agreements to manufacture the Sputnik V vaccine with India, Brazil, China, Korea and Kazakhstan.

For its part, Germany, is available this Tuesday to extend restrictions to curb the pandemic of covid-19, such as the closure of schools.

Chancellor Merkel and the 16 state-regions (Lander) plan to meet to decide on the extension, which could be until January 31.

The Russian vaccine Sputnik V. Photo: REUTERS.

Shops, with the exception of food stores and pharmacies, schools and nurseries and cultural centers should remain closed in the coming weeks. Likewise, teleworking is encouraged.

Considered a European “good student” in managing the first wave of the pandemic, Germany now has trouble containing the virus.

On December 30, it exceeded 1,000 deaths for the first time and some 1,775 million cases have been recorded since the start of the pandemic, which has left more than 34,000 dead in the country. The authorities warn that the impact of vacations and family reunions is still unknown.

The historic crisis of the coronavirus will continue throughout 2021“Merkel said on December 31 in her last New Year’s message as chancellor.

Merkel warned in her end-of-year message that the coronavirus crisis will continue into 2021. Photo: AFP.

Merkel warned in her end-of-year message that the coronavirus crisis will continue into 2021. Photo: AFP.

In addition to the restrictions, Germany is committed to the vaccination campaign started on Saturday to counter the pandemic. More than 264,000 older people and healthcare personnel had received the first dose of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine on Monday. Although the rate of vaccination is much faster than in many European countries, particularly France or Spain, many voices criticize an alleged slowness.

In Russia, more than 24,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 500 deaths during the last 24 hours were confirmed on Tuesday for the second consecutive day, according to data published by the national operational center for the fight against coronavirus.

According to these data, the capital, Moscow, has once again topped the list of the number of cases, with 4,842, followed by Saint Petersburg, with 3,649, and the Moscow region, with 1,131.

Putin asked on Monday that the Council of Ministers adopt a decision before January 20 to approve the issuance of certificates confirming vaccination against the coronavirus.

With information from agencies.



Corona and the media: the government spokesperson

What is a journalist’s job? The shortest and simplest answer is: education. Ever since the free press emerged in the 18th century, this has included closely monitoring conditions, formulating criticism and uncovering scandals.

Journalists still do all of that today – the only question is where they direct their energies. If you follow the media discussion about the federal government’s failures in organizing the corona vaccine, you can get the impression that it is not politics but criticism of this policy that is the real scandal.

“Not everything went well, but the alternatives were worse,” wrote the ZDF correspondent Stefan Leifert on Twitter, teaching the critics of the federal government in a series of ten tweets that they were wrong. The ARD presenter Anne Will commented on Leifert’s contribution with the emoji for applause, and Birthe Sönnichsen, editor in the ARD capital studio, translated the whole thing again into the language of a journalistic special education teacher: “Please read. Please cool down. Please be happy that Germany has chosen the European route. Please communicate delivery quantities clearly. Please perfect the organization in the federal states now. Please stop playing blame games. “


Merkel returns to the crest of the wave in the heat of pandemic

After three decades of his coming to power and less than a year after his announced retirement from the head of government in Germany, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel is back in office. crest of the wave of popularityrespected and loved in their own country and admired abroad. Her management of the coronavirus crisis, but also of the complicated rotating presidency of the European Union, have once again catapulted her to the highest levels of approval.

All the polls confirm it. 71% of Germans say they are satisfied or very satisfied with their political work, according to a study by the Federal Statistical Office for this month of December, a figure that coincides with a survey by the Forsa survey institute, but increases to 74% in the poll of the public television channel ARD. Must go back to spring 2015, prior to the refugee crisis and once Germany had overcome the international financial crisis, to recall such high popularity ratings for Merkel.

At 66, freed from the burden of the presidency of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) for two years and faced with the prospect of the soon abandonment of her political responsibilities, the conservative leader, known for her coldness of analysis, her political pragmatism and her negotiating endurance, has become even more passionate. It has been seen in their unusually frequent parliamentary interventions and individual calls to appeal to the common sense of the population in the fight against pandemic and openly criticize the prime ministers of the 16 federal states, who have health powers in their hands and have resisted until very recently to apply maximum restrictions to combat it as Merkel demanded.

Accustomed in her 15 years of government to dealing with crises and masterfully fighting the international financial, the euro, the Greece or the refugees, Angela Merkel has met with the coronavirus “The limit of his power”, the German political scientist Albrecht von Lucke recently assured in statements to the public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. “Today he acts with much more passion in the role of admonitor, but always making it clear that his power is limited if the people, if the rest of the politicians, do not support him,” said the analyst.

But also abroad, Angela Merkel’s management is seen with very good eyes and many would like her to lead their own national government. A poll released last Friday by the US Gallup institute reveals that the Chancellor obtains even better popularity levels that at home in the Netherlands, with a record 87% approval, Finland (84%), or Norway (81%) and that in the 29 countries consulted the average approval is 62%, compared to 59% last year . In Spain, where a few years ago to cite his name was to talk to the devil for his severe management of the Eurocrisis, 68% envy Merkel’s government and wish they had an equal leader at the head of the Executive.

Fight for the match

What the head of the German Government does seem to have completely ignored is the fight for the presidency of her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), and the election of a conservative candidate to succeed her in the Federal Chancellery. Merkel has decided not to intervene in that debate after the political future of her favorite was frustrated, the still acting president of the CDU, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who resigned shortly before the summer tired of seeing her authority undermined by a good part of the members of the executive of the formation that he still directs.

Merkel’s march has left Christian Democrats orphans of leadership only nine months before the general elections and the candidates to chair the party are not enough to excite the people. The election will take place in mid-January in an extraordinary congress. More animated is the subsequent nomination of a head of the list for the legislative elections of autumn 2021 and candidate for the Federal Chancellery with the possible entry into the career of the Prime Minister of Bavaria and leader of the Bavarian Social Christians (CSU), Markus Söder .