Merkel hails ‘urgent’ national measures to fight third wave

Berlin (dpa) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday welcomed the “important, urgent” decision by her Cabinet to approve new national measures to stem high coronavirus infection numbers.

The so-called “emergency brake” would mean an end to inconsistencies between policies by Germany’s 16 federal states, she said, and would kick in “automatically” when infections numbers in a given area rise too high.

“The situation is serious, and we must treat it seriously … The third wave has our country in its grip,” she said at a press conference.

The seven-day incidence rate of infection nationally rose to 140.9 on Tuesday, with 294 new deaths reported over the past 24 hours.

Merkel said the country’s vaccine campaign – which has been criticized for being slower than in many other countries – is progressing “better every day.”