Merkel seeks to convince state governments for limits on gatherings, alcohol sales against Covid

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking agreement on stricter measures against the coronavirus, such as limits on gatherings and restrictions on alcohol sales, as she prepares to meet with the leaders of the nation's 16 states later on Tuesday, dpa reported.

The talks, which have been a steady fixture in Germany's attempts to coordinate a response to the pandemic, come as the number of new infections recorded over a 24-period once again surpassed 2,000.

In a draft set of proposals seen by dpa ahead of Tuesday's videoconference, the federal government lays out proposals to limit celebrations and gatherings in private homes to 25 people, while similar gatherings in public areas would be limited to 50 people. It remains to be negotiated whether this would be a blanket rule, or whether it would only apply to areas where the virus is spreading at a particularly high rate.

Merkel's government is also seeking to limit alcohol sales in areas with particularly high rates of infection. And guests at bars and restaurants could face a fine of €50 if they violate hygiene rules, for example by not providing on arrival correct contact details, which are used to track possible chains of infection.

Merkel and the 16 state premiers will also discuss ways to support hospitals and general health practitioners in dealing with flu patients during the autumn and winter seasons.

The Robert Koch Institute, the country's official disease control body, said the caseload in the pandemic so far had increased by 2,089 to reach 287,421 on Tuesday. The death toll stood at 9,471, up by 11 on the previous day. The daily rise in case numbers was still a far cry from the levels seen in late March and early April, of over 6,000.

Germany's state governments are largely responsible for introducing and easing restrictions in their regions in response to the pandemic.


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