Virus puts Merkel under pressure

A closed restaurant in the Alexanderplatz area of Berlin on Wednesday, March, 24, 2021. (Photo: NYTimes)
BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel faced growing criticism on Monday for failing to spell out a plan to reverse rising coronavirus infections in Germany and blaming uncooperative state premiers for an increasingly chaotic management of the crisis.اضافة اعلان

The clock is ticking for Germany to reverse soaring infections which, according to its top public health official, could jump to 100,000 a day from now.

Germany stepped up lockdown measures in December to contain a second wave of infections, which has now turned into a third wave although with fewer deaths.

Merkel raised the possibility during a broadcast interview on Sunday of amending the Infection Protection Act to oblige Germany's 16 states, which wield power over health and security issues, to implement certain measures.
But she failed to say what that would entail, prompting rebukes from opposition parties and newspapers that she was "clueless" and "still has no plan".

Merkel, whose conservatives are falling in the polls ahead of an election in September, expressed dissatisfaction with some state premiers for failing to reverse measures to reopen parts of the economy when cases start to rise, as agreed on March 3.

"Merkel should appear before parliament and state clearly how she sees the situation and what her proposals are," Christian Lindner, leader of the opposition Free Democrats, told Phoenix television.

In the clearest sign that her authority is waning six months before her fourth and last term ends, Merkel said the leader of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party had breached the March agreement by failing to re-impose lockdown measures in his own state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW).

NRW premier Armin Laschet, also a potential conservative candidate for German chancellor, hit back at Merkel, saying his state had imposed a so-called "emergency break" by requiring people to test negative before visiting or entering some shops.