US units new file for Covid-19 hospitalizations

Germany will face a “hard” national lockdown from next week and into the Christmas season, said Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday after she had agreed with the state governments on stricter measures to contain a wave of coronavirus cases.

Starting next Wednesday, all non-essential businesses, services, and schools will be closed through January 10, and Christmas Day gatherings will be reduced from 10 to just five people from two different households.

This week, Merkel made a passionate plea for Germans to cut their social contacts before the holidays: Despite the country’s respected health system and early success in containing the virus, a recent partial lockdown failed to stop the surge in the second wave. Germany reported record daily deaths on Friday, with 598 deaths within 24 hours.

The new measures are aimed at traditional festivals: Christmas services must be registered in advance without singing, alcohol must be banned from all public areas and an annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display is canceled. Some states are also implementing additional measures, such as Bavaria, which will have a curfew from 9 p.m.

Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has promised economic aid to all companies affected by the lockdown.

Case numbers: Germany registered 20,200 new coronavirus infections on Sunday – 2,000 more than on Sunday last week – according to the Robert Koch Institute, the state’s disease control agency. The total number of infections is 1,320,716. The death toll rose 321 to 21,787, data showed.

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