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German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the coronavirus lockdown in Germany would be extended and strengthened at a press conference in Berlin on Tuesday.
Speaking after meeting with the head’s of the country’s federal states, Merkel said that an agreement had been reached to extend current measures until at least January 31, while restrictions on personal contacts would be further tightened.
"We will be reducing private meetings to one household and a maximum of one person from outside the household," said Merkel.
The chancellor explained that while this measure was a ‘considerable reduction’ from the current limit of five people from two households, the government believed that it was "the right way forward even if it is really hard for people."
She added that the increased restrictions were necessary as "in recent weeks is that we haven’t been able to bring down the incidence rate as much as we wanted to," alluding to the government’s stated goal of driving infections below the key rate of 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days in order to allow contact tracing to function.
Merkel also warned that the leaders had been briefed by experts, including the head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), that the true picture of the state of the coronavirus situation in the country would not be clear until January 17, due to disruption of the holiday period.
In hotspots where the infection rate is over 200 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days, residents will additionally be restricted from travelling further than 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) away from their homes for non-essential reasons.
According to figures from the RKI, there were 11,987 new cases of coronavirus recorded in the last 24 hours in Germany, as of Tuesday, with 944 deaths with the virus over the same period, while the seven-day incidence rate was 134.7.
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Video ID: 20210105-043
Video on Demand: https://ruptly.tv/videos/20210105-043