Federal Lockdown Becomes More Likely in Germany
Just like other countries around the world Germany is continuing to battle the coronavirus pandemic – though some states have taken the initiative and implemented more draconian measures than the federal government has. This could change soon, however, as the latest figures out of Germany are not encouraging.
Germany’s Current Pandemic Status
The state of Bavaria, which currently records the most infections of all 16 states, imposed a curfew last week. The Saarland also followed shortly afterwards. Similar to other European states, there are exceptions to the rule. Leaving the house is allowed if one can provide compelling reasons to do so. These include going to work, necessary shopping, visits to the doctor and pharmacy, helping others, visits from life partners, but also sports and exercise in the fresh air; however exercise is only permitted if someone is doing it on their own or with the people they share accommodation with.
Germany has yet to impose a nationwide curfew yet, although the federal government has directed the public to avoid going out if possible, while gatherings of groups of more than two individuals are currently verboten. If people did not comply, further restrictions are always possible and likely.
Lockdown by Sunday?
Perhaps already this Sunday, the time will have come for precisely that. A relentless analysis led by Merkel and the state’s minister presidents is planned for that day. The focus of the discussion will be whether the public has abided the guidelines and thus has slowed down the spread of the virus. The analysis will reveal whether people can be trusted to police themselves, to show solidarity without having to shut down the country entirely.
However, it currently looks as if further restrictions are realistic and perhaps even overdue. Only today, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced the most significant increase in new infections in Germany to date. The number of coronavirus infections in Germany rose by 4995 to 36,508 within one day, while the number of deaths rose from 50 to 198. The Johns Hopkins University’s figures even state that the number of infected people in Germany rose to more than 37,000 by Wednesday evening, and 206 deaths.
Analyzing Germany’s Coronavirus Cases by City and Region
Meanwhile, RKI has begun to evaluate the number of cases in the individual districts. The city of Munich now has the most significant number of cases (1,312), replacing Hamburg (1,262). So far, according to the RKI, neither patients in Hamburg nor in Munich have died, however. The districts of Esslingen (461), the city of Stuttgart (451), and the Hanover region (411) are also affected by disproportionally.
Most cases per inhabitant are still in Heinsberg with 995 cases (254,322 inhabitants) and 21 deceased patients. Similarly, high numbers are reported by the district of Tirschenreuth (Bavaria) with 178 patients of 72,504 inhabitants and three deaths, as well as the Hohenlohe district in Baden-Württemberg with 278 cases with 112,010 inhabitants (three deaths).
There are also a few German districts and cities in which not a single infection has been reported. According to the RKI, this is the case in the independent city of Kaufbeuren and the independent city of Kempten (all of which are in Bavaria). Only one infection was detected in Eisenach (Thuringia) and one in the district of Prignitz (Brandenburg). All other parts of Germany are currently affected by Covid-19, while the south, together with the Rhineland, remain the hotspots of the crisis.
Overall (as of March 26), Germany currently has 36,508 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus and 198 deaths. Nonetheless, the death rate remains significantly lower than in other countries, which RKI attributes to the fact that up to now, younger people in Germany have mainly been infected. The average age of infection in Germany is 47 years. In Italy, on the other hand, the average age is currently 63 years.
Whether the average and the rate can be maintained, however, is undoubtedly going to be part of the discussion of Merkel and the minister-presidents on Sunday, when once again, further options will be on the table.