Merkel Proposes Tougher Virus Restrictions Ahead of Tense Talks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is proposing a further tightening of the country’s coronavirus restrictions, setting the stage for another tense round of discussions with the country’s 16 state leaders who have called for more lenient measures.

Merkel will talk to regional premiers on Wednesday to agree on an extension of the country’s partial shutdown until at least Dec. 20. In a briefing paper from the Chancellery obtained by Bloomberg, she suggests to further restrict the number of customers allowed into shops and for additional measures in schools located in infection hotspots.

These proposals go beyonda plan agreed upon by regional leaders on Monday, raising the stakes for the discussions.

Like the state leaders, Merkel suggests that the current partial lockdown will stay in place until December 20. But she does not want to automatically roll over the shutdown for periods of two weeks if contagion rates remain above the government’s target level.

Read More:Germany Looks to Boost Aid by EU20 Billion in Extended Shutdown

Instead, Merkel proposes to reassess the measures before Christmas and a partial shutdown “is expected to remain necessary into next year,” the briefing paper says.

German officials this month imposed the closure of restaurants, gyms and cinemas, while keeping most of the rest of the economy running.

The number of coronavirus cases in Germany has tripled since the start of October to more than 900,000, and the amount of people with the disease in intensive care is at record levels.

Merkel has said the seven-day incidence per 100,000 citizens needs to come down to around 50 before the latest curbs can be loosened. It was at 142 on Tuesday, according to the latestreport from the RKI public health institute.

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