Germany divided over plans to nix rules despite outbreaksby The Associated Press
BERLIN — A spat is brewing between Germany’s federal government and state governors over plans by some regional leaders to end pandemic-related restrictions despite fresh clusters of cases across the country.
The country has seen a steady decline in the overall number of COVID-19 cases thanks to measures imposed 10 weeks ago to limit personal contacts.
But as restrictions have slowly been lifted there have also been case spikes across Germany linked to slaughterhouses, restaurants, religious services, nursing homes and refugee shelters.
The governor of Thuringia state, Bodo Ramelow, said Saturday that he hopes to lift the remaining statewide lockdown rules on June 6 and tackle outbreaks locally.
The neighbouring state of Saxony said Monday that it, too, is aiming for a “paradigm change” on pandemic rules from June 6 if infections remain low.
Federal and state officials agreed earlier this month that restrictions would be re-imposed if there are more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in a city or county within a week.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn cautioned Monday against giving the impression that the pandemic is over.
Spahn told tabloid paper Bild that “on the one hand we are seeing whole regions where there are no new reported infections for days. And on the other hand local and regional outbreaks in which the virus is spreading quickly again and immediate intervention is required.”
Germany has reported more than 180,000 cases of the coronavirus and nearly 8,300 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
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The Associated Press