Germany must reduce coronavirus infections in the coming weeks or risk new vaccine-resistant viral mutations, and should impose night-time curfews in high-workload areas, a high-level Chancellor aide said. Angela Merkel according to Reuters.
“We are in the most dangerous phase of the pandemic,” Merkel’s chief of staff Helge Braun told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “The next few weeks will determine whether we can predictably bring the pandemic under control.”
If the number of infections increases rapidly again, there is a growing risk that the next viral mutation will become resistant to the vaccine, Braun said.
“Then we would need new vaccines, and then we would have to start vaccinating again,” he added.
After popular backlash and legal hurdles, Merkel was forced to abandon plans for an extended Easter break in an attempt to try to break a third wave, but Braun said it remains imperative to reduce the number of infections.
In areas where the number of cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days exceeds 100, he called for further restrictions. “This is where regional evening and nighttime curfews can help, as we have the highest infection rates at home meetings,” he said.
Coronavirus infections have risen sharply in Germany in recent weeks, due to a more transmissible variant of the virus and measures to ease some restrictions.
On Saturday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 20,472, while the number of reported deaths rose by 157, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases.
Braun said he expected the infectious situation to improve in May, helped by the impact of vaccinations and the onset of warmer weather. “By Pentecost (May 23), we will see the first positive effects – provided the situation does not degenerate by then.”