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German government urges people to stay home over Christmas

German government urges people to stay home over Christmas

German government urges people to stay home over Christmas

As Christmas approaches, the German government has issued a final appeal to its citizens, asking them to stay home over the holidays, to avoid travelling and visits to friends and family

Stay home this Christmas, says German government

In view of the current situation with COVID-19 in Germany, the federal government has once again urged people to refrain from contact over Christmas. “Avoid travelling. Avoid, if possible, visiting relatives and friends,” said Ulrike Demmer, the deputy government spokesperson. 

“We should all stay at home to avoid making the situation worse over Christmas,” she said, emphasising that far too many people are still infected with the virus, meaning that great caution is still required. 

16.643 new coronavirus cases were reported to the Robert Koch Institute in the 24 hours to Monday morning, compared to 16.362 a week ago. The number is generally lower at the beginning of the week, since less tests are carried out over the weekend. Health officials also reported 226 new deaths. 

Nationwide, the seven day incidence rate has now reached a new high of 197 new infections per 100.000 inhabitants. With the new, stricter lockdown, the federal and state governments are aiming to bring this value to below 50 per 100.000. Currently, however, six federal states have still above the 200-mark. In Saxony, the value is as high as 444 new infections per 100.000. 

German government concerned about new covid strain

As well as the high case numbers across Germany, the federal government is also concerned about the new strain of covid detected in the UK. So far, no case of the mutated virus - which is thought to be up to 70 percent more contagious than the previously known form - has been discovered in Germany. 

However, a number of leading figures, including the virologist Christen Drosten, have said that in all likelihood the new strain, which has been spreading in England for several months now, is already circulating in Germany. "We now know, it is already in Italy, in Holland, in Belgium, in Denmark - even in Australia. Why shouldn't it be in Germany?" he said. 

Along with a number of other European countries, Germany has halted all flight connections from the UK, as a precaution. Government spokesperson Demmer said that too little was known about the mutation to be able to evaluate it properly. 

Nonetheless, Drosten has insisted that there is no reason to panic, saying he was doubtful that the mutation would have any impact on the effectiveness of vaccines. "I am not that concerned at the moment," he said. "There may be scientific surprises. But I am anything but worried."

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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