Germany state health ministers call for extension of state of emergency as COVID cases rise

BERLIN, Nov 13 (Reuters) – Three German state health ministers urged parties negotiating to form a new government to prolong the power of states to implement stricter pandemic measures as the country grapples with a COVID incidence rate. in seven days at record levels.

The number of people per 100,000 infected last week rose to 277.4, data from the Robert Koch Institute showed on Saturday. The figure has risen to more than 500 in some regions of the country.

The director of the German doctors union Marburger Bund told the Funke Mediengruppe media group that with overcrowding in intensive care units, patients may have to be moved between regions to find beds in the coming weeks.

The federal government and the leaders of Germany’s 16 states are due to discuss new measures against the pandemic next week, but the parties negotiating to form a new government agreed to let the state of emergency, in force since the start of the pandemic, expire. on November 25, as scheduled.

But the state health ministers of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Hessen and Brandenburg argued that states should keep open the option of implementing policies that would require a state of emergency to enforce, such as curfews, school closings or lockdowns, if the situation it got worse.

“Faced with the burden on hospitals, which in some regions are close to absolute overload, the state of the epidemic must be prolonged nationwide,” the three health ministers said in a joint statement on Saturday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged unvaccinated people to reconsider their decision in a video message Saturday morning. He also called for stricter enforcement of rules requiring a negative test, vaccination, or recovery test before entering confined spaces, and faster implementation of booster shots.

“Difficult weeks ahead and you can see that I am very worried,” Merkel said on her weekly podcast. “I urgently ask all those who have not yet been vaccinated: please reconsider.”

The German army is preparing to mobilize 12,000 soldiers before Christmas to help overwhelmed health services, the Spiegel newspaper reported, and will provide booster shots and tests in nursing homes and hospitals.

So far, 630 soldiers have been deployed, Spiegel reported. The military was not immediately available for comment.

Europe has once again become the epicenter of the pandemic, prompting some governments to consider re-imposing lockdowns. (Reporting by Victoria Waldersee; Edited in Spanish by Janisse Huambachano)

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