Germany to go into circuit-break lockdown as virus surges

By Sabine Siebold and Andreas Rinke BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany will impose an emergency month-long lockdown that includes the closure of restaurants, gyms and theatres to reverse a spike in coronavirus cases that risks overwhelming hospitals, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday. 'We need to take action now,' she said, adding that the key to defusing the current 'very serious' situation was to reduce contacts while limiting damage to the economy.

Reuters October 29, 2020 00:11:06 IST
Germany to go into circuit-break lockdown as virus surges

Germany to go into circuitbreak lockdown as virus surges

By Sabine Siebold and Andreas Rinke

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany will impose an emergency month-long lockdown that includes the closure of restaurants, gyms and theatres to reverse a spike in coronavirus cases that risks overwhelming hospitals, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.

"We need to take action now," she said, adding that the key to defusing the current "very serious" situation was to reduce contacts while limiting damage to the economy.

Effective Nov. 2 , private gatherings will be limited to 10 people from a maximum of two households. Restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas, pools and gyms will be shut and concerts cancelled.

Professional sports events will be allowed only without spectators. People will be asked not to travel for private, non-essential reasons, and overnight stays in hotels will be available only for necessary business trips.

Schools and daycare centres will however remain open, as will shops, so long as they stick to social distancing and hygiene rules. The nationwide rules replace a confusing patchwork of regional measures.

A 10 billion euro ($11.82 billion) aid package will pay companies that have to close a share of their lost sales during the shutdown. Smaller companies, with up to 50 employees, will receive 75% of the year-earlier revenues for the month of November.

Germany was widely praised for keeping infection and death rates below those of many of its neighbours in the first phase of the crisis but is now in the midst of a second wave.

Cases rose by 14,964 to 464,239 in the last 24 hours, Germany's infections diseases agency, the Robert Koch Institute, said on Wednesday.

Deaths jumped by 85 to 10,183, fuelling fears about the health system after Merkel warned it could hit breaking point if infections continue to spiral.

"Our health system can still cope with this challenge today, but at this speed of infections it will reach the limits of its capacity within weeks," Merkel said.

Merkel added that health authorities were no longer able to trace the origin of around 75% of infections, which made it difficult to say which measures exactly would have the biggest impact.

"We have to reduce contacts somewhere. If we wait longer, we will have to reduce contacts even more," she said.

She and state leaders will reconvene two weeks into the partial lockdown to assess how effective the measures decided on Wednesday are.

($1 = 0.8461 euros)

(Additional reporting by Michael Nienaber, Holger Hansen and Michelle Adair; Writing by Madeline Chambers and Maria Sheahan; Editing by Thomas Seythal, Janet Lawrence and Nick Macfie)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

IAEA and U.S. pressure Iran over uranium particles at 'atomic warehouse'
World

IAEA and U.S. pressure Iran over uranium particles at 'atomic warehouse'

VIENNA (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog and the United States pressured Iran on Wednesday to finally explain the origin of uranium particles found almost two years ago at an old but undeclared site that Israel has called a "secret atomic warehouse". Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew attention to the Turqazabad site in Tehran in a speech to the United Nations in September 2018, urging the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit it

Sri Lanka's Gotabaya says has reassembled nation's intelligence network
World

Sri Lanka's Gotabaya says has reassembled nation's intelligence network

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said on Wednesday he had delivered on a key election promise to rebuild the island nation's intelligence network in the year since assuming office.

Pole and Chinese citizen indicted in Warsaw for spying
World

Pole and Chinese citizen indicted in Warsaw for spying

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish authorities said on Wednesday a former secret service agent and a Chinese citizen who worked for a telecommunications company have been charged with spying for China. Reuters previously reported on the allegations against an employee of Huawei and a former Polish domestic intelligence operative who were being investigated by the Warsaw government for suspected espionage