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Germany tightens and extends coronavirus restrictions

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Germany will tighten and extend its restrictions in place to curb the spread of coronavirus, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Tuesday.

It will now be compulsory to wear a medical-grade face mask in transport and shops, Merkel said, and all restrictions already in place (such as the closure of schools, bars, restaurants and cultural venues) will apply until 14 February, she announced.

In addition, other new measures were agreed on, such as the obligation for employers to prioritise teleworking until at least 15 March.

Merkel made the announcement after almost eight hours of negotiations with regional leaders.

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Germany saw 15,974 new cases in a day, according to the latest figures by the Robert Koch Institut (Germany’s public health institute), bringing the total to 2,068,002 confirmed cases, and 48,770 Germans have passed away from the virus.

Earlier this week, it was announced that a new coronavirus strain was discovered in a hospital in Bavaria in a ski resort south of Munich. However, it is not clear yet whether or not the new strain is more infectious or more deadly.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times