German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief on Thursday told broadcaster ARD he was optimistic that a circuit-breaker lockdown agreed for November would be able to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed with coronavirus patients.
Helge Braun also said the lockdown that Merkel agreed with state premiers aimed to allow the economy to function more normally in December, a key month for some businesses.
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered their countries back into lockdown on Wednesday, as a massive second wave of coronavirus infections threatened to overwhelm Europe before the winter.
Germany will shut bars, restaurants and theatres from Nov. 2-30 under measures agreed between Merkel and heads of regional governments. Schools will stay open, and shops will be allowed to operate with strict limits on access.
“We need to take action now,” Merkel said. “Our health system can still cope with this challenge today, but at this speed of infections it will reach the limits of its capacity within weeks.”
Her finance minister, Olaf Scholz, posted on Twitter: “November will be a month of truth. The increasing numbers of infections are forcing us to take tough countermeasures in order to break the second wave.”
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 16,774 to 481,013, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.
The reported death toll rose by 89 to 10,272, the tally showed.