Bundestag leader calls for nationwide lockdown law in Germany
Trent Murray in Frankfurt


As Germany reports a new COVID-19 vaccinations daily record, calls intensify for the country's leaders to fight the infections surge by implementing a tougher nationwide lockdown.

Bundestag President Wolfgang Schauble says a federal law is needed that "binds all states" – avoiding the need for approval from regional councils. 

Schauble's announcement on ZDF television comes as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to host a crucial summit with the country's state leaders to try and convince them to enforce national lockdown restrictions. 



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The meeting has been scheduled for Monday, April 12, and follows similar gatherings in recent months at which the group of leaders have debated and agreed on rules as part of the country's pandemic response. 

German health experts have raised concerns about the third wave currently sweeping across Europe. The concerns come amid a sharp rise in the number of people being treated in intensive care units. 

The latest data shows there are now fewer than 3,000 beds available in intensive care units in German hospitals – the country's lowest number during the entire pandemic. 


A new daily record of more than 656,000 doses were administered to people in Germany in the past 24 hours. /AP

A new daily record of more than 656,000 doses were administered to people in Germany in the past 24 hours. /AP


You can go your own way

Despite worries over high patient numbers, some regions are maintaining their plans to roll back lockdown rules. The France-bordering western state of Saarland began loosening some restrictions this week, despite high-profile opposition from leading politicians in Berlin. 

Uwe Conradt, the mayor of the region's capital city Saarbrucken, told CGTN he was confident in the state government's strategy. 

"We believe this is the right approach, not just to open everything uncontrollably, but to take a policy of slow and controlled small steps. This is the way Saarland is going," Conradt said. 

"Is this a model for all the other regions in Germany? No. But I believe that when we think about the economic situation in our state, and also the mental impact on people, it is very important to give a signal of hope that this pandemic will end. And even in this third wave, not everything will simply close up completely again," he added.


Vaccine milestone

Thursday was a record-breaking day for Germany's vaccine roll-out. The campaign has been heavily criticised for its slower-than-hoped pace but the latest data shows in the past day, more than 650,000 doses were administered. 

Much of that increase is being attributed to the efforts of GPs, who were given the green light to start administering jabs earlier this week. Health Minister Jens Spahn took to Twitter to celebrate the "new daily record". 

The news comes as Spahn also signalled Germany is preparing to purchase doses of the Sputnik V vaccine. Speaking on German radio, he said he wanted the government to be ready to receive supplies of the Russian-made jab if the European Medicines Agency approved it. 

"I explained on behalf of Germany to the Council of Health Ministers of the EU, that we would discuss bilaterally with Russia to know, first of all, when and what quantities could be delivered," he said on WDR radio. 

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