Germany to enter strict five-day shutdown over Easter: Chancellor Angela Merkel

`New pandemic`: Germany to enforce strict five-day shutdown over Easter

"Given the current infection dynamics accelerated by the Covid-19 variants, forceful action is still required", said a draft document, which is to be discussed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and regional leaders of Germany's 16 states on Monday.

As well as extending existing measures including keeping cultural, leisure and sporting facilities shut, Merkel and Germany's 16 state premiers agreed a tougher shutdown between April 1 and 5.

"We have a problem with AstraZeneca", the German Chancellor said.

"The situation is serious".

At the same time, Germany's criteria for assessing the virus situation overseas meant that a travel warning for parts of Spain was lifted earlier this month, prompting a much-criticised surge of bookings to the popular holiday island of Mallorca.

"After being able to sharply reduce the number of infections in January, we are now seeing the more risky mutation with the penetration of the more contagious British mutant". On Monday, the number of Covid-19 patients in German ICUs rose to 3,136, the highest in more than a month.

Mrs Merkel said the plan was a "mistake", adding that she took responsibility for the U-turn.

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Chancellor Angela Merkel told German state governors on Wednesday that she plans to halt an unexpected decision to impose a deeper coronavirus shutdown over Easter, news agency dpa reported.

They agreed to meet again on April 12 to decide on how to proceed with the partial lockdown, which has effectively been in place for about four months, the person said.

The number of new infections per 100,000 residents for the whole of Germany during the past week has risen to 103.9, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases noted on Sunday.

But finally, the leaders agreed to "appeal urgently to all citizens to refrain from non-essential travel within the country and also overseas - also with regard to the upcoming Easter holidays".

Airlines will now be responsible for ensuring all travelers and crew are tested for the coronavirus prior to departure to Germany, regardless of the infection rate in the country they have visited.

"I support Commission President Ursula von der Leyen", said Merkel.

Anglo-Swedish pharma giant AstraZeneca has delivered only 30 percent of the 90 million doses it promised the EU for the first quarter, infuriating European leaders and complicating the continent's already struggling rollout.

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