Germany is heading for a major new nationwide lockdown to stem the rapid spread of the coronavirus after health experts said that to wait until after Christmas to wind the country down could cost tens of thousands of lives and overwhelm hospitals.
The country recorded almost 23,000 new cases on Wednesday morning, and 598 deaths, both rates higher than at any time since the start of the pandemic.
Leading politicians urged the government to act immediately to instigate what some media were calling a “blitz lockdown”.
Markus Söder, leader of the southern state of Bavaria, where cases have risen sharply in the past few days, said : “We have to act as soon as possible.
” He said that every day counted, tweeting: “Why hesitate when we know that it’s necessary? Which is why we need to push everything forward and act decisively. We need to wind everything down before Christmas.”
He called for a nationwide approach, including curfews, the closure of non-essential shops, and an extension of school and kindergarten holidays.