Germany tightens virus lockdown rules over Christmas

Germany was today plunged into a new national lockdown for the Christmas period as Angela Merkel makes a desperate bid to drive down soaring Covid infection rates.  

The country will be closing most shops, hair salons and schools, and further limiting social contacts. 

Chancellor Merkel said she and the governors of Germany’s 16 states agreed to step up the country’s lockdown measures from December 16 to January 10 to stop the exponential rise of COVID-19 cases.

‘We are forced to act, and we’re acting too,’ Merkel told reporters in Berlin.

Germany was today plunged into a new national lockdown for the Christmas period as Angela Merkel makes a desperate bid to drive down soaring Covid infection rate

Germany was today plunged into a new national lockdown for the Christmas period as Angela Merkel makes a desperate bid to drive down soaring Covid infection rate

Germany was today plunged into a new national lockdown for the Christmas period as Angela Merkel makes a desperate bid to drive down soaring Covid infection rate 

Chancellor Merkel said she and the governors of Germany's 16 states agreed to step up the country's lockdown measures from December 16 to January 10. Pictured is a busy Cologne yesterday

Chancellor Merkel said she and the governors of Germany's 16 states agreed to step up the country's lockdown measures from December 16 to January 10. Pictured is a busy Cologne yesterday

Chancellor Merkel said she and the governors of Germany’s 16 states agreed to step up the country’s lockdown measures from December 16 to January 10. Pictured is a busy Cologne yesterday 

Existing restrictions imposed in November failed to significantly reduce the number of new infections, she said. 

Germany recorded 20,200 newly confirmed cases and 321 additional deaths Sunday, a high number for the weekend when many local authorities don’t report figures.

With the exception of Christmas, the number of people allowed to meet indoors will remain restricted to five, not including children under 14.

Companies have also been urged to allow employees to work from home or offer extended company holidays.   

Alcohol sales would be banned in public places, essentially outlawing the business of mulled wine stands, which have proved popular in the days running up to Christmas.

The sale of fireworks traditionally used to celebrate New Year’s will also be banned. 

The country will be closing most shops and schools, and further limiting social contacts

The country will be closing most shops and schools, and further limiting social contacts

The country will be closing most shops and schools, and further limiting social contacts 

Over the last week, the country's disease control agency reported that the infections trend has taken a worrying turn. Pictured are Christmas shoppers in Berlin yesterday

Over the last week, the country's disease control agency reported that the infections trend has taken a worrying turn. Pictured are Christmas shoppers in Berlin yesterday

Over the last week, the country’s disease control agency reported that the infections trend has taken a worrying turn. Pictured are Christmas shoppers in Berlin yesterday

‘The corona situation is out of control,’ said Bavarian state premier Markus Soeder, welcoming the tougher restrictions which he pledged to implement in his state.

Germany in November closed leisure and cultural facilities and banned indoor dining in restaurants.

The measures had helped to halt rapid growth of infections after the autumn school holidays, but numbers had plateaued at a high rate.

Over the last week however, the country’s disease control agency reported that the infections trend has taken a worrying turn.

‘With increasing mobility and the therefore linked additional contacts in the pre-Christmas period, Germany is now in exponential growth of infections numbers,’ said the policy paper agreed by regional leaders and Merkel.

It was therefore ‘our task to prevent an overload of our health systems and that’s why there is an urgent need to take action,’ said the chancellor.

Link hienalouca.com

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