Germany is extending its national coronavirus lockdown by three weeks in an effort to reduce stubbornly high infection and death rates. Chancellor Angela Merkel and regional leaders also agreed to tighten some restrictions – including curbs on social contacts and limits on people’s movements in the worst-affected regions. Germany’s latest official figures, showing over 21,000 new infections and a thousand deaths, underscored the situation’s urgency.
Private meetings will be limited to the members of a household and only one other person.
Where infections are high: people will be told to stay within 15 km of their home.
Schools & many shops will remain closed, and people arriving from outside Germany will need a corona test and have to spend at least 5 days in quarantine.
Restricting movement in infection hotspots could prevent a repeat of scenes like those at the weekend, when hundreds of people ignored police warnings and headed for ski slopes.
But so far it’s not clear how all the new rules will be enforced.
Hopes for progress in rolling back the pandemic now rest on vaccination. New vaccines are set to be approved, but it is expected to be many months before enough people are immunized.
For now, Germans face a longer lockdown, and no clarity about when it might be lifted.
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