COVID-19 | The German Academy of Sciences calls for a “hard” confinement taking advantage of Christmas

As much of Europe prepares to relax restrictions over the Christmas holidays, the Leopoldina National Academy of Sciences has appealed to the German government to impose a harsh lockdown on all of Germany from December 14 and at least until December 10. from January.

The Academy writes this in a statement released this Tuesday. General conditions are favorable, he said, as during the Christmas holidays many companies will have limited operations and educational institutions will be closed anyway. The academy justified its proposal because of the high death rates of COVID-19 and the permanently high burden of medical personnel in clinics and hospitals.

A “harsh” confinement for a short period of time could “contribute significantly to reducing and keeping infection rates low to regain control over the infection process.” Although the economy suffers more in the short term, says the Academy, it shortens the time until a reopening.

Is hard confinement at the end more efficient?

The Academy proposes a confinement in two phases: starting next Monday, all contacts, whether private or professional, would be restricted. Distance work should become the norm, face-to-face schooling should also be suspended throughout the country as of this date and, whenever possible, digital offerings should be preferred to face-to-face events. La Leopoldina advocates a complete renouncement of group cultural and sports activities during this period.

In the second phase, from Nocuebuena on, public life in Germany will be suspended until January 10, if the Federal Government follows the Academy’s recommendations. Stores would be closed (except for everyday products) and the Christmas holidays could be extended.

After that, the Academy recommends wearing face masks in school – for all grades and in all states – and applying alternation measures in secondary education.

“Long-term political agreement on a system of clear, multi-level and uniform rules at the national level”

The Leopoldina is also in favor of a “long-term political agreement on a system of clear, multi-stage and uniform rules at the national level”, which would come into effect after a certain number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

A uniform procedure at the national level would increase acceptance among citizens *, as the measures taken would be transparent and understandable.

Germany has so far not applied a national lockdown, an option Angela Merkel favors. Instead the federal states apply measures with different criteria.

In 24 hours, 14,054 new infections were reported to the Robert Koch Institute. The 7-day incidence is currently 147 per 100,000 inhabitants. The number of deaths from coronavirus in Germany increased by 423 to a total of 19,342.

The Leopoldina National Academy of Sciences is widely respected, but it remains to be seen whether the central government has the will and ability to force the federal states to follow its criteria.

La Leopoldina advises the Government and promotes science “through national and international cooperation, according to its tradition for the benefit of man and nature.” Since its appointment as the National Academy of Sciences on July 14, 2008, Leopoldina “officially represents German scientists in international bodies in which other national academies of sciences are represented, and participates in scientifically based advice to the public and to politics”.