After an uproar, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s 16 states have decided to reverse their plan to toughen virus lockdown measures over Easter. Merkel announced the changes after an impromptu videoconference with the 16 regional leaders in which she explained the U-turn and said the mistake was ultimately hers to answer for.
Merkel said that on closer analysis, the planned shutdown risked doing more harm than good. She also said there was not enough time to adequately offset some of the problems that would come with it, such as lost earnings and working hours.
After 12 hours of talks, Merkel and state premiers agreed to pull the emergency brake and reverse the easing of restrictions in areas where the 7-day incidence rate exceeds 100 cases per 100,000 people for three consecutive days.
They also announced an even tighter lockdown over the long Easter weekend, between April 1 and April 5, when the whole country, including most grocery stores, would have to close. Contact between two households would remain permitted. Merkel described the measures as an attempt to “break the exponential growth of the third wave.” They were immediately met with widespread criticism.