Germany has extended restrictive measures designed to curb the spread of coronavirus until Jan. 10, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced late Wednesday following a meeting with the country’s state leaders.
“The states will extend their measures from Dec. 20 until Jan. 10,” Merkel told reporters at a news conference, adding that another round of consultations would be held on Jan. 4.
“In principle things will remain as they are,” she said.
Merkel said that infection rates throughout the country remain too high to allow reopening of restaurants, bars and leisure facilities. The nationwide partial lockdown also includes private gatherings to be kept to a minimum of only five people from two households.
Last week Merkel announced that restrictions will be eased over the Christmas period in most parts of Germany to allow for people to meet in groups of up to 10 people, not counting children.
Germany is struggling to contain an ongoing surge in Covid-19 infections. On Wednesday, the country’s infectious disease agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), reported 487 deaths due to the virus — the highest daily death toll since the beginning of the pandemic.
According to data published by the RKI Thursday morning, 22,046 new coronavirus infections were recorded in the past 24 hours. A total of 479 coronavirus fatalities also occurred in the past day — the second-highest count since the pandemic began, bringing the total number of deaths to 17,602.