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Merkel appeals to prevent the spread of mutated viruses to avoid the third wave

Berlin, Jan 21 (EFE) .- German Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed today to focus all efforts on preventing the spread of coronavirus mutations in order to avoid a third wave of the pandemic, adding that any decision to reactivate public life should be viewed with extreme caution. In a press conference to analyze the epidemiological situation in Germany, Merkel stressed the need to “slow down as much as possible” the spread of the mutated virus, especially the variant detected for the first time in Great Britain, which means that it is not it can wait until the danger of the mutation “becomes more palpable” in Germany and is reflected in the daily numbers of new infections. “Then it would be too late to avoid a third wave of the pandemic, possibly more stark than any before,” he warned. He assured that there is still “some time” to prevent the danger arising from this mutation and pointed out that the decision agreed on Tuesday with the heads of government of the federal states to extend the stoppage of public life in Germany until 14 February are “preventive measures” that pursue this objective. “But precisely because we know that the British mutation is here, any reopening strategy must be carried out very cautiously,” said Merkel, adding that first there are schools and nurseries and then retail, although it will always be necessary, stressed, observe the impact of this reactivation. RESTRICTIONS BEGIN TO HAVE AN EFFECT ON THE CONTAGIOUS FIGURES On the other hand, Merkel referred to the “good news” when referring to the fact that “finally” the daily figures of new infections seem to decline since there are also “somewhat less” people that they must be admitted to intensive care with respect to before or during Christmas. It is “very important and encouraging” that the current situation is beginning to de-escalate, he said, noting that it is a sign that the “tough restrictions” in force in the country for weeks are beginning to take effect and that “the effort is worth the sorrow”. This picture, however, is clouded by the daily “alarmingly high death toll”, he added. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) of Virology reported again today more than a thousand fatalities in 24 hours (1,013), and 20,398 new infections, although also the lowest cumulative incidence in seven days since November 1 (119.0 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants). The number of positives since the first contagion was announced in the country at the end of January last year totals 2,088,400 and the number of deaths, 49,783. Regarding the vaccination campaign, Merkel reiterated that if everything goes as planned and confirmed by the companies that develop the different vaccines, Germany hopes to have been able to offer all citizens the option of getting vaccinated before the end of summer. The chancellor rejected the criticism of Pfizer for the cut in the supply of its vaccine developed with the emerging biotechnology company BioNTech and recalled that the delay in distribution is due to changes to increase production. He added that the German government cannot guarantee vaccine production, but it will provide all the necessary support for it to take place. “We have something that in the 21st century places us, despite all the difficulties, in a much better situation” than the influenza pandemic of 1918, to which Merkel referred, who specified: they are vaccines, “which even with a mutation of the virus can be readjusted “and spoke of a” huge success of science. ” That the vaccine already produced could be made available on the same day of its authorization is “a novelty that in the history of medicine has occurred on rare occasions,” he added. Since December 26, the number of people who have already received the first dose of the covid-19 vaccine in Germany amounts to 1,254,760, which corresponds to a 1.5% share, while 42,670 people already have been vaccinated for the second time. DOOR OPEN TO BORDER CONTROL On the other hand, Merkel left open the possibility that some type of border control would have to be introduced due to the pandemic, although she considered that countries around Germany are applying similar measures to stop the spread of the virus. Merkel estimated that German citizens “would not understand, with reason”, that a neighboring country applied fewer restrictions to public life than those in force in Germany and at the same time kept open the borders without restrictions. The German Chancellor recalled that the question of borders will be one of those that the leaders of the European Union countries will address this Thursday in a virtual summit to coordinate the response to the coronavirus health crisis. (c) EFE Agency

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