German Chancellor Angela Merkel says new coronavirus restrictions that took effect Monday were implemented because the country has seen “exponential growth” in cases in recent weeks, and officials are facing an acute emergency in the nation’s hospitals.
Speaking to reporters in Berlin following a Cabinet meeting on the virus Monday, Merkel said the Robert Koch Institute, which monitors public health, reported 12,097 new cases in the country, raising the overall number to 545,027 currently.
Merkel said the daily rate is triple what the rate was two weeks ago and five times more than in the middle of October. She said the number of intensive care patients has doubled in the last 10 days from 1,030 to 2,061. The chancellor said the new measures reflect an effort to reduce contact among people to slow the spread of the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease.
The new lockdown includes the closing of restaurants, gyms and theaters. Merkel said the lockdown’s success will not be determined by the regulations but by how well they are followed. She said if people follow the rules, and the lockdown measures reduce the spread of infections over the month of November, the more freedoms they might have in December during the Christmas holiday.
Merkel said there will still be restrictions but added, “It’s going to be a Christmas under coronavirus conditions, but it shouldn’t be a lonely Christmas.”
A reporter asked Merkel how important it was for U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration to listen to the science when it comes to the pandemic. She refused to answer, given that it was the day before the U.S. presidential election; but, she added that given her own training as a physicist, “I, of course, value scientific advice highly and follow it.”