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Germany's Merkel sees anti-virus measures in place into January

Kitco News

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed with leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states to extend measures against the coronavirus until at least Dec. 20, she said, adding it was very likely that they would remain in place into January.

“Infection numbers remain at a level that is far too high,” she told journalists on Wednesday, but said that restrictions would be eased over the Christmas holidays.

Germany imposed a month-long “lockdown lite” on Nov. 2 to rein in a second wave that is sweeping much of Europe. Bars and restaurants are closed, but schools and shops remain open.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 18,633 to 961,320, daily data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday, 5,015 less than the record increase reported on Friday.

However, the death toll jumped 410 to 14,771, up from 305 a week ago, and just 49 on Nov. 2, when the partial lockdown came into effect.

Under the measures agreed on Wednesday, private gatherings will be limited to five people from Dec. 1. Gatherings of up to 10 people, not counting children, will be allowed over Christmas to let families and friends celebrate together.

Reporting by Sabine Siebold, Paul Carrel, Joseph Nasr, Thomas Escritt, Kirsti Knolle; Writing by Maria Sehahan; Editing by Toby Chopra, Emma Thomasson, Nick Macfie and Peter Graff

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