In a broad interview on German television station ARD, Merkel criticized some of the 16 states for failing to implement an “emergency brake” agreed on on March 3. more than 100 per 100,000 inhabitants for seven days.
“Unfortunately, he is not respected everywhere,” she said. “There are several states which interpret it very broadly, and that does not fill me with joy.”
“What depresses and upsets me is that the good parts of a resolution are being implemented. . . but the hard part is not, as I would like, ”she told interviewer Anne Will.
Merkel spoke as the incidence of infections per 1,000 people in Germany rose to 130, from 104 a week ago. The total number of confirmed cases rose from 17,176 to 2,722,401 on Sunday, while the role of the dead rose from 90 to 75,870.
The interview concludes one of the most difficult weeks Merkel has faced as Chancellor. Earlier in the week, she was forced to drop a proposal to extend the Easter vacation, in hopes that a strict shutdown on all economic life would slow the spread of the virus. She apologized to the country for what she admitted was a mistake.
Speaking on Sunday evening, Merkel said Germany may need to take “further steps” to contain the third wave, all of which are already permitted by German law. “We have the option of curfews, new contact restrictions, additional masks,” she said.
Schools must test students at least twice a week, she said. Employers must allow their staff to work from home, and those who work in the office or factory must be tested twice a week, she added – a rule that may soon be enforced by law.
Merkel sharply criticized states for moving forward with the lifting of the brakes on economic activity in force since November. “Where it feels like we can open things up, that’s not on the agenda,” she said.
One state that has promised to reopen after Easter is the small Saar region in western Germany. Merkel admitted that her infection numbers were relatively low “but they are not stable. . . they don’t sink ”.
“This is not the time to contemplate [such a relaxation]She said, adding that she was “not satisfied” with the state initiative.
She also criticized the actions of Armin Laschet, prime minister of the populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, who was elected to lead her CDU party in January. He said the emergency brake would only be applied in certain districts, not the entire state.
When asked if Laschet violated the principle of the emergency brake with such a selective approach, she replied: “Yes, but he is not the only one.
Merkel said she was keen to avoid mistakes made last fall, when signs were already clear that a second wave was about to strike but authorities were slow to respond.
The measures decided at the time were “a little delayed, and it cost us a lot of time and energy, and now, with the third wave, it seems like the same thing is happening again.”