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Merkel weighs easing lockdown amid third wave

(Bloomberg) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the country is in the midst of a third wave of coronavirus infections and that measures to reopen schools and businesses will need to be weighed cautiously as the country debates how to exit the confinement and ease its ailing economy. The end of personal distancing restrictions should be accompanied by more tests and vaccines, Merkel told lawmakers from the conservative bloc led by the Christian Democratic Union on Tuesday in a video conference, according to a participant in the call. . The chancellor warned that the UK variant of the virus is already spreading in Germany, threatening the success of the country’s containment efforts to date. Helge Braun, Merkel’s chief of staff, told lawmakers that the virus mutated could quickly lead to an increase in infections, and that the so-called incidence rate, a key measure for confirmed daily cases, would rise to 800. The average incidence rate in Germany is currently at 60, according to data from the Institute Robert Koch, and Merkel has set a rate of 50 as the minimum to remove certain restrictions, and possibly lower them further to a rate below 35. Federal and state officials have proposed a variety of plans to get out of the current confinement, thus that generates some confusion about the management of the pandemic. Health Minister Jens Spahn was forced to abandon a plan to offer free tests starting in March amid opposition from state leaders. Merkel will discuss the test strategies at her next meeting with those officials on March 3. Original Note: Merkel Warns of Third Virus Wave as Germany Weighs Lockdown ExitFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source. © 2021 Bloomberg LP

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