Germany extends lockdown till April 18 to curb new wave of infections

BERLIN: German authorities on Tuesday agreed to extend the country's coronavirus lockdown until April 18 to contain a new wave of infections and to stringent measures for a five-day period over the Easter holidays.

The leaders agreed that public and private life are to come to a virtual standstill over the long Easter holiday weekend from April 1 through 5. Shops will remain closed throughout, except for grocery stores and supermarkets which will be allowed to be open on April 3.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and leaders of the country's federal states reached an agreement on the strict lockdown measures early in the morning following 11 hours of talks, reports dpa news agency. People are urged to stay home throughout those five days, the leaders said in a statement.

Public gatherings are generally banned during that time, but Covid-19 testing and vaccination centers will remain open. Easter services will largely be held virtually, and private gatherings limited to five people from two households, not counting children up to the age of 14.

It was also agreed that once a seven-day incidence of more than 100 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants is registered, local government districts must further tighten lockdown measures.

This would include curfews, stricter contact restrictions, or the obligation for people to get daily quick Covid-19 tests in areas where social distancing or consistent mask-wearing are difficult to keep up.

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