Merkel calls for 'solidarity' as Germany prepare for partial lockdown
Trent Murray in Frankfurt
Chancellor Angela Merkel has laid out her lockdown plans to Germany's parliament today, a day after she convinced regional leaders to agree to the new scheme.
Under the plans, Germany will be placed under partial-lockdown in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. Bars and restaurants will be forced to close, except for takeaway service. Gyms, cinemas and theaters will have to shut completely, and domestic tourism will effectively be off-limits for German travelers, with hotels barred from accepting holidaymaker bookings.
Speaking in the Bundestag, Chancellor Merkel said the measures were a necessary step to protect the country's hospital system.
"This dynamic rate of current infections will overload our intensive care units in just a few weeks from now. All of this shows us that at the beginning of the cold season we are in a dramatic situation. It affects all of us, without exception," she said.
Another daily record
Her speech comes as Germany records another record-breaking day of new infections. The Robert Koch Institute published a record 16,774 rise in cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 481,013. The death toll rose by 89 to 10,272.
The Chancellor said she understood the new measures would be difficult for many, particularly small business owners forced to once again shutter their operations.
"I understand the frustration and the desperation in these areas affected by the lockdown. The affected businesses invested in so many hygiene safety measures and are now asking themselves if it was all for nothing. I reply: No it wasn't," she said.
"These hygiene safety measures will be needed again afterwards but during this current exponential rise in infections they are not enough. At the moment we cannot trace the origin of 75 percent of the infections and we need to get out of this situation as quickly as possible."
'Winter will be hard'
Much of the enforcement of the new rules now sits with Germany's sixteen states. They will meet with the Chancellor midway through November, to assess the effectiveness of measures.
Chancellor Merkel has tried to work across party lines in her handling of the crisis. She used her speech in parliament to once again call for patience and community cooperation.
"For the coming times I wish for one thing: that we all show solidarity and empathy to one another and with one another. This is the only way we will get through this historical crisis," she said.
"This winter will be hard, it will be four long, difficult months, but it will end. In the last 8 months we have seen how we can learn together and get through it together. It is this society with its empathy and solidarity that gives me hope of getting through this."