Germany’s general lockdown measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended until April 18.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Heads of Government of the Länder agreed to a hard five-day lockdown over Easter holidays to curb the sharp rise in new coronavirus infections in the country.
Chancellor Merkel said the numbers of new cases were rising exponentially driven in particular by the more contagious UK variant.
“We are already in the third wave. The situation is serious,” said the Chancellor.
In order to curb the spread of the virus during the Easter holidays, German authorities have declared a 5-day “peaceful period” beginning from the Thursday before Easter. The motto for the five days over the Easter weekend is “We’re staying at home”.
COVID-19 regulations in force until 18 April
All the current COVID-19 restrictions in place in Germany will be extended until 18 April.
This means that private gatherings of a maximum of five people from two households are possible; children under the age of 14 do not count.
People must wear masks or masks corresponding to standards KN95 or FFP2 in shops and public transport. Where possible, employers are required to let their staff work from home.
Non-essential private travel or visits have also been banned. People in Germany are urged to avoid all non-essential travel, including travel over the Easter holidays.
During the Easter period, only members of the same household will be allowed to have private gatherings. Only one person from outside the household will be allowed and in any case the total number of people allowed to gather will be five.
Children under the age of 14 are not counted. Couples will be considered as one household. No gatherings will be allowed in public spaces and hospitality with outdoor seating will be closed for the five days.
Emergency brake to be rigorously applied should COVID-19 cases hike
Ms Merkel and the Heads of Government of the Länder agreed that the recently adopted “emergency brake”, which is to kick in when numbers of new infections rise, is to be applied rigorously in order to stem the spread of infections.
It allows for immediate application of stricter restrictions that applied until 7 March should seven-day incidence in any of the Länder or in any region rise above 100 for three consecutive days.
In such a case, private gatherings will be limited to one person from outside the household, although children under the age of 14 will not count. Any shops, museums, zoos or sports facilities that have opened will have to close again.