Germany readies tougher Covid restrictions

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders are expected today to announce new restrictive measures, including compulsory mask-wearing at schools and drastic bans on household gatherings, in attempt to tame a second coronavirus wave before Christmas, news wires reported.

Furthermore, people would be urged to avoid private parties completely in coming weeks. Germany this month imposed a “light lockdown” to rein in a second wave that is sweeping much of Europe. Bars and restaurants are closed, but schools and shops remain open. Numbers of new infections are no longer growing exponentially, but a fall in infections is not yet foreseeable.

“The numbers are stabilising but too slowly,” the DPA news agency quoted Merkel as telling members of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) conservative party. Germany expects to gradually overcome the pandemic after winter thanks to warmer weather and hopefully the start of vaccinations.

According to the proposals, which could still change pending talks between the federal and 16 regional governments, private gatherings in public will only be possible for people from one household with two people from another household, compared to a maximum of 10 people from two households now.

An exemption from wearing masks at school for some elementary pupils will be scrapped and all classes will be halved to allow more space between students. All people considered vulnerable will be eligible once a week for one heavy-duty face mask, also known as FFP2. Merkel and regional state heads will meet again next Monday and possibly decide on further measures.

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