Covid-19 continues its firm grip into the new year. On January 5th, the federal and state governments met to discuss a continuation of the lockdown. Incidence levels are still far too high; an extension of the restrictions was inevitable.
Which rules have the federal and state governments decided on to combat the pandemic? Above all, stricter contact limitations — and a restricted radius of movement for people in hotspots. The overview.
Corona lockdown goes into extra time
The tough lockdown not only remains, but is getting tougher. Berlin’s governing mayor, Michael Müller, warned that it was “no time for half-heartedness”. The new rules go further than the existing ones. Points of contention during the conference were, above all, restrictions on the radius of movement. These will come, but not at a 7-day incidence of 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
What are the new Covid-19 regulations?
- The lockdown will be extended beyond January 10th — provisionally until January 31st 2021. Citizens are urged to reduce their contacts to a minimum.
- This minimum will be redefined. Contact restrictions will be tightened. Instead of five people from two households, members of one household can only meet with one other person from another household.
- The radius of movement is drastically restricted in hotspots: if the 7-day incidence is above 200, people can only move within a 15-kilometre radius of their home. Doctor’s appointments and work are valid reasons to travel beyond this area, but excursions are not. In Berlin, the incidence is currently 131.8 (5th January)
- Company canteens should be closed as far as possible and switch to a take-away service
- Children’s sickness benefit has been extended by the federal government: 10 additional days are granted per parent, 20 days in the case of single parents.
- Schools and day-care centres will remain closed until at least January 31st
- Work should take place from home office if possible. Here it remains an appeal, rather than an order, from the government.
- More tests are to be carried out in nursing and old people’s homes
- In addition to the 10-day quarantine period, people entering the country from risk areas must always be tested — immediately after entry or up to 48 hours beforehand.
The aim of the much stricter lockdown is to significantly reduce the incidence rate. Only when there are fewer than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants on a 7-day average is it possible to trace the chains of infection again.
Nationwide, Berlin sits in the middle of the pack, but even here the numbers are clearly too high. Chancellor Merkel justified the strict rules by referring to the high utilisation of intensive care units and the virus mutation discovered in the UK, which is even more contagious.
Anyone who thinks they might have been exposed to Covid-19 can find an overview here: What to do and where to find coronavirus testing centres. Playing it safe, even without symptoms? All rapid test centres and their prices are listed here.
Original article by Christopher Wasmuth