BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders should meet before Christmas to discuss tighter measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the premier of the southern state of Bavaria said on Monday.
Bavaria, which has so far recorded Germany’s highest death toll from the virus, announced on Sunday that it would impose a tougher lockdown and Markus Soeder told ARD television the current national measures remained insufficient.
“I am sure we will meet again before Christmas, because one thing is still clear: the current system alone is not enough,” Soeder said.
“We have to consider whether it makes sense to wait until 10 January. We need to act and I think better sooner than later.”
While daily infections are no longer rising as sharply as previously, they have stagnated at a high level and Germany reported its highest single-day coronavirus death toll on Wednesday.
On Monday data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed the number of confirmed cases rose by 12,332 in the past 24 hours to 1,183,655, with the reported death toll rising by 147 to 18,919.
Merkel’s chief of staff also called for another summit of state leaders and the federal government before Christmas to discuss measures to bring infection numbers below 50 per 100,000 within seven days as quickly as possible.
Helge Braun told newspaper Bild that people should try to reduce contacts and spoke out in favour of moving to distance learning for some older children in coronavirus hotspots.
Merkel and state leaders agreed last week to extend national restrictions, which include limiting private gatherings to five people from two households, until Jan. 10.
From Wednesday, Bavaria will only allow people to leave home with good reason, while evening curfews are planned for hotspots with the highest infection rates.
(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by David Goodman)