Coronavirus: Germany tightens lockdown restrictions as COVID-19 cases rise

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Most stores shut, tight limits on social contacts, no singing in church and a ban on fireworks sales: Germany is ratcheting up its pandemic restrictions in an effort to cut the stubbornly high rate of coronavirus infections.

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 help stop the exponential rise in cases.

Some passers-by in central Berlin said they supported a new nationwide lockdown coming into force next week, with one telling Reuters he would have to close his own shop, but that he still agreed with the measures because of the strain on hospitals.

Germany has been in partial lockdown for six weeks, with bars and restaurants closed, while stores and schools have remained open. Some regions have already imposed tougher measures as infections grew.

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