Germany today (Dec 13) announced that it enter a hard lockdown from Wednesday (Dec 16), as the number of deaths and infections from the coronavirus reaches record levels, BBC reported.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel today ordered most stores to shut from Wednesday, along with schools and daycare centers. Restaurants, bars and leisure centres have already been shut since November, and some areas of the country had imposed their own lockdowns.
Addressing a news conference after a meeting of federal and leaders representing 16 states, Merkel said the country urgently needed to address the exponential rise in COVID-19 infections.
"The measures which we began on November 2 have not been enough," Merkel said in a statement after the meeting.
"The health system is under heavy strain and our aim has always been to avoid an overloading of the health care system." she added
The new restrictions will be in effect until at least January 10. Authorities hope that the tough measure will help tackle the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic which threatens to overwhelm the country's health system.
Around 83% of all intensive care beds are occupied, and the number of severe Covid-19 patients has been at record levels for weeks.
Under the national lockdown, essential shops, such as those selling food, will stay open, as can banks. Hair salons are among the businesses which must close Companies are being urged to allow employees to work from home.
On Sunday, Germany's Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases reported 20,200 more infections, bringing Germany's total to date to more than 1.3 million. The death toll has risen by 321 to 21,787, the Robert Koch Institute stated.
On Friday, Germany’s daily coronavirus cases touched 29.875 cases and daily number of deaths climbed to 675, the highest reported since the pandemic began, increasing pressure on authorities to impose a hard lockdown over the holiday season.
“The coronavirus is out of control, so we don’t want to do things piecemeal but act decisively,” Bavaria Premier Markus Soeder said alongside Merkel, describing the pandemic as a “catastrophe” and calling for a national effort to tackle it. “If we’re not careful, Germany will quickly become the problem child of Europe,” he warned.
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