Merkel forced to postpone further Covid-19 restrictions amid pushback from German regional leaders

The decision on more coronavirus curbs in Germany has been delayed to November 25 after the leaders of the country’s 16 federal states rejected Chancellor Angela Merkel’s demands to widen the current partial lockdown.

“I could have imagined imposing further contact restrictions today,” Merkel told a press-conference in Berlin, adding that the federal government and regional leaders couldn’t find common ground on the issue.

Germany already introduced a partial lockdown two weeks ago in an attempt to stem the second wave of the virus. Under those measures, bars and restaurants have closed, but schools and shops remain open. Private gatherings were also limited to no more than 10 people from two different households.

On Monday, Merkel acknowledged that those restrictions “have broken the dynamics of new infections,” but pointed out that they haven’t yet been enough to reverse the trend. Germany is still far from the goal of 50 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in a week’s time, she said.

The contact restrictions are the formula for success. We need more of this. We need to restrict contacts further to reach our goals.

The additional measures sought by Merkel include mandatory mask-wearing in schools, fewer students in classes, and stricter limits on social contacts in general.

Federal and state leaders are to meet again next week in a fresh attempt to agree further curbs.

Germany has so far recorded more than 801,000 coronavirus cases and almost 12,600 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the Robert Koch Institute.