Coronavirus: Germany tightens and extends lockdown until end of month

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Germany is extending its national lockdown until the end of the month and introducing tighter restrictions in a bid to curb the surge in coronavirus infections, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday.

“We need to reduce the contacts further because we have seen that we have not been able to reduce the incidence [of coronavirus] at the end [few] weeks as far as we would have liked, ”Merkel told reporters after a meeting with the leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states.

The new rules will for the first time limit non-essential travel for residents of hard-hit areas across Germany.

They limit travel to a 15-kilometer (nine-mile) radius in cities and districts where the number of new coronavirus cases exceeds 200 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day period.

The rules also include the tightest limit on gatherings since the first lockdown in the spring, with members of a household only allowed to meet with one other person.

Germany is extending its national lockdown until the end of the month and introducing tighter restrictions in a bid to curb the surge in coronavirus infections, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased from 11,897 to 1.787 million in the past 24 hours, the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases said on Tuesday.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased from 11,897 million to 1.787 million in the past 24 hours, the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases said on Tuesday.

Germany's total death toll rose from 944 to 35,518 on Tuesday after deaths fell in late December

Germany’s total death toll rose from 944 to 35,518 on Tuesday after deaths fell in late December

Shops and restaurants will remain closed until the end of January. Schools are also to remain closed, with online classes, at least until the end of the month.

“We believe these measures are justified, even if they are difficult,” said Merkel, adding that she and state leaders would review the new measures on January 25.

Like many other European countries, Germany is struggling to contain a second wave of the virus. Britain began its third COVID-19 lockdown on Tuesday with citizens ordered to stay at home.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased from 11,897 million to 1.787 million in the past 24 hours, the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases said on Tuesday. The total death toll increased from 944 to 35,518.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy and most populous country, imposed a partial lockdown in November but was forced to close schools, shops and restaurants in mid-December after initial steps did not have not had the desired impact.

Under the new restrictions, shops and restaurants will remain closed until the end of January.  Schools are also to remain closed, with online classes, at least until the end of the month.  Pictured: Berlin Chancellery

Under the new restrictions, shops and restaurants will remain closed until the end of January. Schools are also to remain closed, with online classes, at least until the end of the month. Pictured: Berlin Chancellery

Concern is growing that hospitals across the country will struggle to cope, and Merkel said a new variant of the coronavirus first detected in Britain increases the need to be more careful.

“For the moment, we have reached a situation in some hospitals which is very, very borderline. It also led us to make some big decisions today, ”she said.

Germany hopes to be able to limit the spread of the virus until enough of its population has been vaccinated against COVID-19 to gain herd immunity.

He started vaccinations on December 27, but the media and some officials criticized the government for a slow start and for ordering too few doses. As of Tuesday, around 317,000 of Germany’s 83 million inhabitants were shot.

“Maybe we expected to have as many vaccines available as needed and we just had to make vaccines. This will not be the case in the first quarter, ”said Merkel.

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