Lockdown to be extended to 28 March

Draft resolution calls for more testing, gradual reopening when incidence falls. 

What restrictions?
What restrictions?Benjamin Pritzkuleit

Berlin-Politicians Wednesday are expected to extend the lockdown to 28 March but agree on limits for loosening restrictions amid fears of the various corona mutations, according to a draft proposal leaked to Berliner Zeitung.

Still, beginning next week, two households would be allowed to meet as long as not more than five people join up, with an exception for those under 14, according to the draft, which was developed by officials from the chancellery and the finance ministry as well as representatives from the state governments of Berlin and Bavaria.

The paper isn't final and may yet change when Chancellor Angela Merkel holds another semi-regular meeting with the heads of Germany's 16 states Wednesday.

Uneven restrictions nation-wide

The draft suggests a further relaxing of restrictions when the incidence rate - the number of new infections per 100,000 people per week - falls below a certain threshold. The threshold could be either the traditional 50 or the newer 35 agreed in the last meeting.

Conversely, everything could be locked down again if the incidence rises, as is currently the case. The figure in Berlin Monday was 66.3, well above what the government wants. 

The paper also calls for widespread use of quick tests as part of a reopening strategy. It suggests first allowing book and flower stores as well as garden centres to open across the country. Bookstores never closed in Berlin and gardening supply outlets have been open since Monday in Brandenburg around Berlin. 

Once the incidence falls below 35, retail, museums and even zoos can reopen (though zoos in Berlin reopened this weekend). The paper relies heavily on a plan developed by Berlin's government last week - mayor Michael Müller heads the committee of 16 state premiers at the moment.