Germany is tightening restrictions and extending the current lockdown until mid-February

Germany is tightening restrictions and lockdown until mid-February

Germany is extending its lockdown restrictions due to concerns over the new Coronavirus variants. The current lockdown started in mid-December and was set to expire at the end of January. 

On January 19, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the country’s 16 state premiers decided to prolong restrictions until at least February 14.

So far, Germany has reported over 2 million COVID-19 cases and 49,566 deaths. There are 286,366 active cases at the moment, of which nearly 16,000 were reported in the past 24 hours.

Non-essential travel is prohibited, but citizens from the E.U. and the Schengen Area can enter Germany without justification.

Contrarily, travelers from third countries must present a valid reason to enter the country, with exception to Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and Uruguay, 

All incomers must undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing upon entry, whereas travelers arriving from high-risk areas must get tested already before starting their journey. 

Those areas include regions with high Coronavirus incidence or places where the new, more contagious strains are spreading.

Besides, those arriving from risk areas must quarantine for ten days. The quarantine can be lifted sooner on the grounds of a negative result from the COVID-19 test taken the fifth day of the quarantine at the earliest.

Non-essential shops and services such as gyms, restaurants, daycare centers, as well as the majority of schools will, thus, remain closed.

Woman wearing a face mask on a train

Among the new rules, citizens are now requested to wear medical-grade masks on public transport and in shops. Private gatherings are still permitted but only one person outside the household will be allowed.

Employers are also encouraged to allow employees to work remotely.

The number of infections seems to decrease and indicates improvement. Nonetheless, the new Coronavirus strains, first found in the U.K. and South Africa, represent great danger, says Merkel.