Germany's President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Monday that tougher lockdown restrictions in Germany are vital to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country, calling the situation “dead serious.”
“From Wednesday onwards, our public and private life will be more restricted than we have ever seen in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he said, adding: “The situation is dead serious.”
In a rare speech, the German president addressed the nation a day after Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the country would return to tighter lockdown restrictions from Wednesday over the festive period. Non-essential retail and services as well schools and kindergartens will close down until January 10, 2021.
“Thousands of deaths in a week, and an infection rate that threatens to get out of control. We cannot avoid drastic measures…. We can't risk a situation where the health system can't cope anymore," Steinmeier added.
He said he understood that people are beginning to show coronavirus fatigue but reiterated how vital it is that everyone sticks to the measures announced on Sunday and contributes to bringing down the high infection numbers.
Germany recorded 16,362 new coronavirus infections on Monday -- 4,000 more than a week ago -- according to data from the Robert Koch Institute, the country's agency for disease control. The overall number of infected people stands at 1,337,078. The death toll rose by 188 to 21,975, data showed.
On Friday, Germany recorded nearly 30,000 new coronavirus infections and nearly 600 deaths within 24 hours in a record day for both daily infections and fatalities.