Germany sets new daily record of more than 18,000 coronavirus cases

Germany has recorded 18,681 new coronavirus infections over a 24-hour period, the Robert Koch Institute for disease control said on Friday. This marks the country's highest daily increase since the pandemic began, dpa reported.

This brings the total number of cases in the country so far to 499,694. The institute gave the death toll as 10,349, an increase of 77 compared to the previous day. Friday marks the third day running the country broke its record of daily figures. The previous record from Thursday was 16,774.

The surge in infections comes as Germany's federal and state governments agreed on Wednesday to sweeping contact restrictions for the month of November in a bid to stem coronavirus infections before Christmas. Cultural and recreational facilities will shut as well as restaurants and bars, and outdoor gatherings will be limited to members of no more than two households, with a maximum of 10 people. The sweeping restrictions come into effect on Monday. Fans will also be banned from top-level football matches in the Bundesliga, amateur sport will not take place, and gyms, pools, cosmetic studios, massage parlours and tattoo studios will have to close.

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday defended the November shutdown as "suitable, necessary and proportionate."

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