As Germany’s Covid death toll approaches 100,000, Merkel issues a stern warning.
On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued an urgent pandemic management warning to the future administration that will succeed her, urging it to act quickly and decisively as the country’s cumulative death toll surpassed 100,000.
The outgoing Merkel reminded reporters one day after Olaf Scholz introduced his new centre-left-led government coalition, which will take power next month, that “every day counts” as Germany continues to set daily coronavirus infection records.
“We need stricter contact limits,” Merkel said, adding that she informed Scholz “very plainly” that “we can still handle this transition phase together and look at all required steps.”
Merkel, a trained scientist, described Thursday as a “sad day” because of the high death toll. She said she sought communication with Scholz, a Social Democrat, and the leaders of his coalition partners, the Greens and the libertarian FDP, because of the gravity of the issue.
Germany has fared better than many other European countries in previous pandemics, but has recently experienced a comeback, with intensive care beds quickly filling up.
In the last 24 hours, 351 Covid deaths have been reported in Europe’s largest economy, putting the official death toll to 100,119 since the outbreak began.
According to the Robert Koch Institute, the weekly incidence rate reached an all-time high of 419.7 new infections per 100,000 individuals.
For the incoming government, the rising health crisis is a baptism of fire.
Since the September 26 general election, the country has been in political uncertainty, with Merkel serving only as a caretaker president.
Jens Spahn, Germany’s health minister, warned this week that by the end of the winter, most Germans would have been “vaccinated, cured, or dead” from Covid-19, as he urged more individuals to get vaccinated.
The increase in Germany comes as Europe has re-emerged as the pandemic’s hub, battling poor vaccination uptake in certain countries, the highly contagious Delta form, colder weather that keeps people indoors, and the loosening of restrictions.
According to an AFP assessment of official numbers released on Thursday, Covid-19 has killed over 1.5 million individuals in Europe.
Scholz announced fresh measures to manage the fourth wave at a presentation of his new government’s policy blueprint on Wednesday.
These measures included establishing a corona response task force located in his office and allocating one billion euros ($1.12 billion) in bonuses to overworked front-line health personnel.
Annalena Baerbock, a Greens co-leader, told public television ARD that forming a new coalition will take 10 days, or until early December. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.