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Tuesday, 05 January, 2021, 12 : 00 PM [IST]

Germany poised to extend lockdown measures beyond Jan 10

Germany is poised to extend stricter lockdown measures beyond January 10 amid criticism over alleged failures in the government’s fledgling vaccination programme, reports Raymond Colitt and Arne Delfs for Bloomberg.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is consulting with regional officials and health experts on Monday and Tuesday to decide on prolonging the restrictions, which include closing schools and non-essential stores. She will announce the outcome of the talks at a news conference likely sometime on Tuesday afternoon in Berlin.

Authorities have agreed to extend the curbs until January 31, Bild newspaper reported, without identifying the source of the information.

“The latest numbers in no way allow for us to sound the all-clear,” Merkel’s Chief Spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Monday at a regular news conference. “The chancellor will stick very strongly to her existing position, and will argue for measures that really allow us to get new infections down to a manageable level as quickly as possible.”

While there is a broad consensus that it’s too early to ease up, accusations that Germany has bungled its vaccine rollout have intensified in recent days. A top official from the junior partner in Merkel’s ruling coalition criticized Health Minister Jens Spahn for what he said were unacceptable delays in distributing a vaccine jointly developed by Germany’s BioNTech SE.

Europe has become an epicenter of the pandemic since cases began ticking up again in October, with more than 400,000 coronavirus-related deaths and 17.3 million infections. That’s prompted governments across the region to consider sharpening restrictions on movement and contact. (Source: Bloomberg) 

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