New Delhi (NVI): German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she has agreed with state governors to extend the country’s current lockdown by three weeks until January 31.
Merkel said they are also tightening curbs on social contactc, in line with measures imposed at the beginning of the pandemic in March.
The government also called for new restrictions on movement for people living in areas with particularly high infection rates.
The Chancellor further said that it was absolutely necessary to maintain restrictions, particularly in light of a more infectious variant of the virus that emerged in England.
“We must reach a point where we can once again follow the chains of infection,” Merkel said after a lengthy videoconference with Germany’s 16 state governors. “Otherwise, we will just go keep going back into a lockdown after a short relaxation.”
Under the new curbs, authorities across Germany will allow people in areas with more than 200 new infections per 100,000 residents over seven days to travel only 15 kilometers (just over nine miles) from their hometown unless they have a good reason to go further.
Germany launched a nationwide partial shutdown on November 2, closing restaurants, bars, leisure and sports facilities. That failed to reduce infections, and the current lockdown — which also closed nonessential shops and schools — took effect December 16.
It was initially due to run through January 10.
So far, Germany has reported 1,814,565 positive cases of coronavirus while the number of fatalities have surpaased 36,000 in the country.