German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Germany looks set to introduce new restrictions on public and private gatherings and ramp up mask-wearing rules when Chancellor Angela Merkel meets state premiers via videolink on Monday to discuss the national coronavirus situation.

According to a draft proposal seen by dpa, children and young people are to be encouraged to meet with only one particular friend regularly in their free time. Similarly, families are to limit private get-togethers to their own household and people from one other particular household.

The proposal further envisions limiting peoples’ meetings in public to members of their own households and a maximum of two people from another household.

The draft calls for private parties to initially be avoided completely until Christmas. Since November 2, only members of two households have been allowed to meet in public, with no more than 10 people taking part in the gathering.

The proposal also calls for people who display cold symptoms – especially runny noses and coughs – to immediately quarantine at home.

The draft also pushes for social distancing measures to be stepped up at schools. Masks that cover the mouth and nose are to become compulsory for teachers and pupils of all ages on school premises and during lessons.

Pupils are to have lessons in assigned, unchanging groups of about half the regular class size, according to the draft proposal.

At-risk groups including the elderly and sick people are to receive special FFP2 masks at reduced prices subsidized by the federal government.

On Saturday, two weeks into a month-long nationwide partial shutdown, Merkel had warned of a difficult winter to come.

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