As of Wednesday, Germany will enter a tougher lockdown on the resurgence of new coronavirus cases, which will entail the closure of non-essential shops and the reduction of the scale of private meetings, Chancellor Angela Merkel said here. In response to the 'exponential growth in the number of new confirmed cases registered across the world, the tighter restrictive measures that will be effective until January 10, 2021, Xinhua news agency cited Merkel as saying to journalists on Sunday. Merkel told journalists in Berlin on Sunday, "Today is the day to do what is necessary". Most retail stores will be closed starting from Wednesday, except for those that cover regular or holiday needs, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, banks and Christmas tree shops. There will also be closed schools and daycare centres. Companies are expected to implement work-from-home solutions.
Private meetings, except children up to 14 years of age, would be limited to a maximum of five individuals from two households. Meetings with four other individuals who go beyond one's own home, but from the closest family circle, should be allowed from December 24 to 26. On New Year's Eve, there will be a nationwide ban on fireworks sales and public outdoor gatherings. It would also be illegal to drink alcoholic drinks in public areas. Merkel and state leaders will meet again on January 5, 2021, to decide on steps for the next step. According to the Robert Koch Institute, Germany registered 20,200 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, raising the overall infection tally to 1,320,716. Presently, the death toll stands at 21,900.