Poll: Extension of lockdown finds clear support among Germans

A strong majority of people in Germany support political leaders’ decision to extend coronavirus lockdown measures, according to the results of a survey published on Friday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the nation’s 16 state premiers agreed on Wednesday to prolong the months-long lockdown until March 7, with some key exceptions.

Seventy-two per cent of those polled by Forsa in a study commissioned by the RTL and ntv broadcasters supported this decision, while a quarter were against.

Opposition to the extended lockdown was strongest among supporters of the pro-business Free Democratic Party (66 per cent) and the far-right Alternative for Germany (84 per cent).

The survey found that 50 per cent of Germans expect incremental easing of the measures from March 7, compared to 45 per cent who want to see it prolonged even further or even intensified.

In a press conference in Berlin on Friday, Health Minister Jens Spahn said there had been an “encouragingly strong” reduction in case numbers.

But he warned that the progress was still not enough to justify lifting the lockdown, pointing also to risks posed by more virulent strains of the virus that have emerged in recent weeks.

“Better to hold on now for a while longer than risk setbacks,” he said.

But the extension of the lockdown did not apply to two areas: hairdressers and schools.

Salons will be allowed to reopen from March 1 under strict hygiene measures, while it will be up to state governments to decide when to send children back into classrooms, with many taking that step as soon as February 22.

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