COVID-19: Germany introduces new restrictions amid rise in cases
Germany has entered a hard lockdown closing schools and non-essential businesses in an attempt to stop a sharp rise in Covid-19 infections.
The measures will be in place until 10 January. Christmas will see a slight easing with one household allowed to host up to four close family members.
The country recorded 500 deaths and 14,432 cases on Tuesday.
Other European countries have tightened restrictions ahead of Christmas, with France introducing a night-time curfew.
Under Germany’s new measures only essential businesses such as supermarkets and banks will be allowed to remain open. Restaurants, bars and leisure centres have been shut since November and some areas of the country had imposed their own lockdowns.
Hair salons are among the businesses which must close while drinking of alcohol in public places, such as popular mulled wine stalls, is forbidden. Companies are being urged to allow employees to work from home.
Lothar Wieler, head of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute, which is overseeing the Covid-19 response, said the situation was “more serious than it has ever been” in the pandemic.
“The number of cases are higher than ever and they keep rising. There is the danger that the situation will keep getting worse and it will get harder and harder to deal with the pandemic and its consequences,” he said.