Germany’s virus deaths surpass 50,000Europost
Germany’s coronavirus fatalities passed 50,000, underscoring the urgency facing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to tackle the spread of the disease and the new mutations, news wires reported. 1,013 people died from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of deaths to 50,010. Pandemic-related fatalities have doubled in the past month.
Merkel will talk about the fight against the disease at a news conference later on Thursday, just two days after struggling to reach common ground with state leaders. The chancellor pushed for tougher curbs, but some state leaders resisted, wary of voter dissatisfaction ahead of regional and national elections in the coming months.
While infections have declined in recent days and the contagion rate is at the lowest level since the beginning of November, it remains more than double a government target. Authorities are concerned that fast-spreading strains could spark a surge like in Britain and Ireland. Merkel this week raised the prospect of reintroducing controls on Germany’s borders unless European neighbours synchronise measures to contain mutations.
Lockdown measures, including closing non-essential stores and restricting movement in hard-hit areas, were extended to 14 February. Authorities also agreed to make medical face masks obligatory in stores and on public transport, while companies will be required to allow employees to work from home where possible.