Germany to tighten restrictions on virus

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BERLIN | Germany will tighten the restrictions imposed on its population in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, with in particular increased fines for not wearing a mask, according to a draft agreement between regions and government obtained by AFP.

The authorities will also strengthen their controls to ensure that the quarantine periods are respected and will impose fines if this is not the case, according to this text negotiated by the government of Angela Merkel and the 16 German regions.

Even if the spread of the virus is “currently still significantly lower than the peak reached in March and April”, the authorities point to the fact that “in recent weeks, the number of infections has increased again”.

The country registers around 1,500 new cases daily, the highest since the end of April. The record is at 6,000 at the beginning of April.

“Collective housing, events, celebrations and mobility linked to vacations are particularly conducive to the spread of the virus”, according to the draft agreement, which recalls that “this increase in the summer months is to be taken particularly seriously “.

Germany also expects a further increase in the autumn and winter months.

Fines of at least 50 euros will be imposed in the event of non-compliance with wearing a mask in places where it is compulsory.

Germany will also extend until the end of the year the ban on the public in stadiums, cultural places, festivals or fairs, states the draft agreement, of which AFP has obtained a copy.

This is a big blow for football clubs across the country, who were hoping they could start to partially bring their fans back to the stadiums with the new season about to kick off.

“Exceptions” will however be allowed in regions where the infection rate has been low for at least a week and “if we ensure that participants come exclusively from that region or neighboring regions” where the virus has spread. would also be contained.

Government and Länder also call on “citizens to keep the number of people with whom they have contact as low as possible”, to limit private gatherings to 25 people, to respect a minimum distance of 1.5 meters and to favor meetings “outside”.

“Unfortunately, the last few weeks have shown that the holidays in particular can spread infections within a family or in a circle of friends,” notes the draft agreement.

Germany had 237,936 cases (+1,507 in 24 hours) of COVID-19 and 9,285 deaths (+5) on Thursday, according to the Robert Koch institute.

Faced with the continuation of the pandemic, the government also announced on Wednesday an extension of aid to companies and employees in the face of the economic impact, with in particular an extension of the partial unemployment scheme to two years.

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