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German locking holes criticized when death hit new high

Germany has too many loopholes in its rules for locking up coronavirus, the head of the country’s disease control agency said when the figures released on Thursday showed the highest number of daily deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The Robert Koch Institute said 1,244 deaths from COVID-19 were confirmed in one day until Thursday, bringing the total to 43,881. There were also 25,164 recently confirmed cases, bringing Germany’s total known infections close to 2 million.

Lothar Wieler, president of the institute, said data showed that people in Germany travel more than in the first phase of the pandemic in the spring and contribute to the spread of the virus.

German authorities have introduced restrictions on social contacts, largely closed schools and limited travel for them in areas with high infection rates, but the rules are not uniformly enforced in the country̵

7;s 16 states.

“To me, these measures we are now taking are not a complete lockdown,” Wieler said. “There are still too many exceptions and they are not strictly implemented.”

Officials are considering stricter restrictions to curb the continued rise in infections.

The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen over the last two weeks from 23.36 per. 100,000 people on December 30 to 26.03 per. 100,000 people on January 13th.

Wieler pointed to the sharp rise in infections recently seen in Ireland as an example of how quickly the outbreak could escalate again if the rules were relaxed, especially given the new seemingly more contagious variant of the virus circulating there and in the surrounding United Kingdom.

All infections with the hitherto confirmed variants in Germany involved people who had traveled outside the country, Wieler said.

“We must be very careful, especially for the British mutation of this virus,” said Ralph Brinkhaus, the parliamentary leader of Merkel’s bloc, the television station n-tv. “So we do not yet know what further measures are needed in the coming weeks.”

To ease the burden on working families to care for school-age children and deter them from using emergency facilities, Parliament on Thursday passed a bill doubling paid parental leave to 40 days in 2021. Public health insurances pay up to 112.88 euros ($ 137 ) per day for parents if they stay home to care for children under 12 who could not go to school due to the pandemic.


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