German lockdown loopholes criticized as deaths hit new high


Germany has too many loopholes in its coronavirus lockdown rules, the head of the country’s disease control agency said, as figures released Thursday showed the highest number of daily deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The Robert Koch Institute said 1,244 deaths from the coronavirus had been confirmed in Germany in one day until Thursday, bringing the total to 43,881. There were also 25,164 new confirmed cases, bringing the total infections known in Germany to almost 2 million.

Lothar Wieler, president of the institute, said the data indicates that people in Germany travel more than during the first phase of the pandemic in the spring, contributing to the spread of the virus.

German authorities have imposed restrictions on social contact, largely closed schools and restricted movement of people living in areas with high infection rates, but the rules are not uniformly enforced across the country’s 16 states.

“For me, these steps we are currently taking do not constitute a complete lockdown,” Wieler said. “There are still too many exceptions and they are not being strictly enforced.”

Authorities are considering tighter restrictions to curb the continued rise in infections.

The 7-day moving average of daily new cases in Germany has fallen over the past two weeks from 23.36 new cases per 100,000 people on December 30 to 26.03 per 100,000 people on January 13.

Wieler pointed to the sharp rise in infections seen in Ireland in recent days as an example of how quickly the outbreak can get worse again if rules are relaxed, especially given the seemingly more contagious new variant of the virus. circulating there and in neighboring Great Britain.

All the infections with the variants confirmed so far in Germany involved people who had traveled outside the country, Wieler said.


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