The German well being minister says it’s too early to say whether or not Covid’s partial lockdown can be prolonged
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn told CNBC on Wednesday that it was “too early to say” whether the country would extend its partial lockdown beyond November. More time is needed to determine whether the latest round of coronavirus restrictions have adequately reduced transmission.
“We actually need patience, because today’s numbers are actually the infections that took place a week or more days ago,” said Spahn in an interview that was broadcast on “Closing Bell”. “It will be by the end of this week that we will see the results of the new blocking light we have now.”
According to CNBC’s analysis of the data from Johns Hopkins University, the 7-day average of the new coronavirus in Germany has increased by almost 22% compared to a week ago. The daily average of nearly 19,800 newly diagnosed infections in the past week is an all-time high in the country, according to CNBC analysis.
“We still have an increase, but a much smaller one than in the past few days, for example last week,” said Spahn, who has been Federal Minister of Health since 2018. However, on Wednesday Germany reported, according to Reuters, that is the largest increase in deaths from Covid-19 since April.
The four-week partial lockdown in Germany went into effect on November 2 and closed bars, restaurants and theaters while schools remained open. Shops can also remain open, but with capacity restrictions. When Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the restrictions on October 28, the 7-day average of new cases in the country was over 11,000.
Germany received praise in the spring for its handling of the pandemic, but in Covid-19 cases, as in much of the European continent, it has resurfaced. Merkel warned on Wednesday “that the second wave will be more severe” than the first Covid-19 outbreak.
Spahn recognized the economic challenges caused by the imposition of public health restrictions that warn of a double recession across the euro area. France has also resumed a partial shutdown, which is set to last at least until December 1st. The Czech Republic, with its severely strained health system, imposed a second lockdown at the end of October, which has since been extended to November 20th.
However, Spahn said aggressive measures are needed to control the virus before it spreads further, ultimately leading to additional economic pain. Therefore, the restrictions in Germany are not quite as strict as those of the neighbors, so Spahn. “If you wait too long to be banned, you have really got very high numbers and the ban must be even harder.”
According to Hopkins, Germany has 726,172 confirmed coronavirus cases. Almost 12,000 people have died from Covid-19.