Germany will enter a hard lockdown over the Christmas period, as the number of deaths and infections from the virus has surged in recent weeks.
Non-essential shops and schools will close nationwide during the lockdown, which will last from 16 December to 10 January.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has blamed Christmas shopping for a “considerable” rise in social contacts.
A maximum of five people from no more than two households are currently allowed to gather in a home. But this limit will be relaxed from 24 to 26 December, when one household will be able to host a maximum of four close family members from other households.
Children aged under 14 are not included in this limit.
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Germany’s lockdown measures:
From Wednesday, schools and non-essential shops will close
People must, where possible, work from home
Private gatherings will be limited to a maximum of five people from two households – with an additional four close family members allowed over Christmas
Some German states are going further with night-time curfews and a ban on going out for anything other than essential reasons imposed in some areas
There’ll be no let-up over New Year either. No gatherings on the streets will be allowed, and the sale of fireworks is prohibited – many Germans like to celebrate Silvester, as it’s called here, with a bang.