Germany's social distancing measures have been extended through the end of Easter holiday, said Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday as the country struggles to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The situation will be re-evaluated after on the first Tuesday after Easter, Markel further said.
Countries across the globe have been struggling to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus, with many going for complete lockdowns. As many as 886,112 cases of coronavirus have been reported so far, with 44,228 deaths. Germany is one of the most affected countries in Europe after Italy and Spain. Germany so far has reported 74,508 cases, 821 deaths.
Germany extends social distancing till April 19
Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the social distancing in the country will be extended until April 19. Speculation was rife since Tuesday that the social distancing would be further extended through the end of the Easter holiday. The decision was taken after Markel had a telephonic conference with the premiers of all the 16 German states.
"A pandemic doesn't take a vacation," Merkel said announcing the decision. The social distancing restrictions were initially due to end on April 5. She also said that it was currently too early "too early to think about loosening the restrictions."
What are Germany's new social distancing rules?
Countries have been setting up their own social distancing rules to put a check on the spread of coronavirus infection. However, Germany has been particularly strict in its stand to maintain social distancing. According to the new social distancing rules, public gatherings of more than two people will be banned. However, exceptions will be made for families and those living together.
Also, general contact with others needs to be reduced to a minimum. Per the new social distancing rules, a 1.5-meter (4.9 feet) distance need to be kept at all times when in public. Food businesses need to be closed except for except for those offering food delivery and collection, which will be allowed to remain open.
Hygiene regulations must be implemented for staff in the workplace, or for visitors. That said, commuting to work, helping others and exercising alone in the open is allowed, so long the activities are carried out abiding the guidelines. One of the most important things Merkel mentioned is that the police and other law enforcement agencies will enforce any infractions of the new rules. However, she didn't mention what the punishment will be.
Germany on high alert
The fight to contain the spread of coronavirus is increasingly becoming difficult for countries. Germany has a population of more than 80 million and almost 75,000 have now been affected with coronavirus. Citizens have also been asked to cancel private trips and visits with relatives during the Easter holiday.
However, the federal and state governments have agreed that people need not be required to wear masks in public. Neighboring country Austria, from Wednesday implemented a mask requirement for everyone visiting grocery shops as a protective measure against coronavirus. The current restrictions on social distancing in Germany will be reviewed on April 14, the Tuesday after Easter.