Merkel asks the Germans for patience and extends the restrictions until April 20

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Merkel asks the Germans for “patience” and extends the restrictions until April 20

Angela Merkel, German Chancellor./Reuters
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor. 

The Administration begins to ask about the psychological burden on the population of a “limit to social contact” of more than four weeks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the Germans for “patience” on Saturday. In his usual message on Saturdays, he thanked them for following up on the preventive measures imposed against the epidemic and acknowledged that he does not know how long this exceptional situation will last because nobody can make a prediction “for sure” and the rate of contagion “no they still give us no reason to relax or soften the rules.” The message came after the population learned that the restriction measures would last three more weeks.

It also coincides with the question asked by the president of the conference of interior ministers of the 16 federal states, Georg Maier, regarding the social consequences of prolonged confinement. Maier has demanded to start working on an exit scenario for the pandemic. He considers that “if the contact limitations are maintained for more than four weeks we will reach a limit” and fears that the psychological burden for the population will then be too high. The acceptance of the isolation measures will dissipate.

The answer, for now, is blunt. “We will not talk about any kind of relief from them before April 20. Until then, all the measures will continue in force,” said yesterday Helge Braun, federal minister of the Chancellery. Older people should have an even longer time of social isolation than young people. “There is something common to all models, and that is that the elderly and chronically ill in our society must be effectively protected against infections until there is a vaccine,” said Braun.

The expansion speed of the Covid-19 will be decisive for the relief of restrictions, says Braun. “If we can slow down the increase in the speed of infection until ten or twelve days before cases double, we will know that we are on the right path,” said the minister, who highlights that until now the numbers of cases have been doubling. Every three days.

The Government found that the population follows the recommendations in an “exemplary way”, so that “in a few days we will be rewarded for success.” The minister revealed that the Executive follows the South Korean model that mixes effective measures and practices a massive test policy to detect infections.

For his part, the president of the German College of Physicians, Klaus Reinhardt, is in favour of provisionally entering the most significant possible number of older people in nursing homes, which have been isolated from the outside world for weeks and in which only sporadic infections have been registered. Unlike Italy and Spain, Germany has a high number of elderly living in residences and not under the same roof with children and grandchildren, which increases the risk of infection. “It can be a decisive advantage in the fight against the pandemic,” he said.

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