Germany counts another Covid record as country readies for shutdown


Germany counts another Covid record as country readies for shutdown Germany hit a record of 18,681 new coronavirus infections over a 24-hour period, the Robert Koch Institute for disease control said on Friday as the nation braced for a new round of measures next week aimed at containing the virus.

Friday’s number is about three times the level recorded daily during the first peak in late March and early

April, although testing has been ramped up significantly since then.

The total number of cases confirmed in the country so far stands at 499,694. The institute gave the latest death toll as 10,349, an increase of 77 compared to Thursday.

The German coastal states of Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – popular tourist

destinations – said on Friday all holidaymakers must leave by next week as part of their moves to stem the spread of the virus.

From Monday onwards, no more tourists can be accepted for the rest of the month, Mecklenburg- Vorpommern’s regional premier Manuela Schwesig said after a cabinet meeting late Friday.

The state’s tourism industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis. During the spring lockdown,tourists were banned.

Once regulations were lifted tourism businesses were initially not able to accept guests, and later then only some from the state itself.

This was followed by a gradual relaxation until all beds could be occupied again. Friday marked the third day running that Germany has broken its record of daily figures, as the virus’

exponential spread forces the country into a month-long shutdown from early next week. Germany’s federal and state governments agreed on Wednesday to sweeping contact restrictions and

business closures 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.

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. The measures come into effect on Monday.

Looking further ahead, another round of states on Friday announced plans to cancel Germany’s famed Christmas markets.

Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the November shutdown as “suitable, necessary and proportionate,” in
remarks on Thursday.

However, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra chief conductor Kirill Petrenko criticized the suspension of all cultural events in November.

“In my opinion, the new measure to halt our concerts is hitting the wrong place,” Petrenko said on Friday,

adding that the orchestra had responded with strict measures to ensure it could hold concerts safely. “Of course we all want to contribute to preventing the virus from spreading further,” he said. “But together

we must take care that the so-called lockdown does not turn into a knockdown for culture, especially for our
freelance colleagues”.

Merkel’s government is providing additional help for freelancers and artists by improving their access to welfare benefits.

“We will not leave the self-employed and cultural workers out in the rain,” said Peter Weiss, a member of Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats told dpa on Friday.

The government announced on Thursday financial aid for companies and the self-employed of up to 10 billion euros (12 billion dollars) for one month.

Despite Germany being a world leader in terms of its intensive-care-unit capacity, Merkel has warned that if

the case numbers continue to rise at their current rate, the nation’s health care system could be overwhelmed within weeks.

The second coronavirus wave has hit other European countries too, prompting Germany to add a number of countries to its list of high-risk regions.

People entering Germany from Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Cyprus will have to quarantine from Sunday unless they can provide a recent negative test result.

The rules now also apply to almost all of Austria, barring two small exclaves, and almost all of Italy.

Only Calabria, which covers the “toe” of Italy’s boot, is exempt for now.

The list also includes Britain, Ireland, Belgium and France, among others. There was one piece of good news in the pandemic in Germany on Friday: After working from home due to a

coronavirus infection, Health Minister Jens Spahn is to return to his ministry from Monday.
“I am doing – touch wood – very well. The symptoms have subsided,” Spahn said after a video conference with his EU counterparts.

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