Silent nights: Germany tightens lockdown over festive period
By FRANK JORDANS Associated Press
BERLIN (AP) — Germany is closing most stores and schools, and further limiting social contacts in an effort to drive down the rate of coronavirus infections that have remained stubbornly high in recent week.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said she and the governors of Germany's 16 states agreed Sunday to step up the country's lockdown measures from Dec. 16 to Jan. 10 to stop the exponential rise of COVID-19 cases. Merkel said existing restrictions imposed in November failed to significantly reduce the number of new infections.
Germany recorded 20,200 newly confirmed cases and 321 additional deaths Sunday, a high number for the weekend when many local authorities don't report figures.
The sale of fireworks traditionally used to celebrate New Year's will be banned, as will the outdoor sale of alcohol.