Esme Nicholson

This week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is making good on a veiled threat she issued two weeks ago to centralize pandemic management. Amid growing calls for Merkel to take control of the situation and bypass the country's 16 state leaders, Germany's parliament is expected to pass a measure this month that will allow her finally to take charge of the country's COVID-19 response.

BERLIN — The German government is preparing to enter into negotiations with Moscow to pre-order doses of Russia's coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, breaking from the EU's joint vaccine procurement efforts.

Following a meeting with his EU counterparts on Wednesday, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn said that because the EU Commission does not intend to purchase the Russian vaccine for the entire bloc, Germany will go it alone.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced a limited lockdown in a bid to stop the exponential growth in coronavirus cases, currently doubling every seven days.

Following long negotiations with Germany's 16 state governors, Merkel, who's been urging the public to dial down socializing for weeks, persuaded the governors that closing bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, swimming pools, theaters, cinemas and concert venues is their best option.

"We only need infection numbers to double another four times and the health system is finished," she warned Wednesday.