Angela Merkel urges Germans to come together to slow spread of Covid

17 October 2020, 14:44

Germany has been grappling with how to keep schools and businesses open
Germany has been grappling with how to keep schools and businesses open. Picture: PA

Angela Merkel has called on Germans to come together like they did in the spring to slow the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

During her weekly video podcast, the Chancellor said there were difficult months ahead.

Like most countries, Germany has been grappling with how to keep schools and businesses open, while trying to prevent people from coming into close contact with one another.

On Saturday, the country's disease control centre, the Robert Koch Institute, reported 7,830 cases overnight, a new record.

Germany has registered a total of 356,387 coronavirus cases, though a relatively low 9,767 deaths.

With the numbers again rising, however, Mrs Merkel urged Germans to avoid unnecessary travel, cancel parties and remain at home whenever it is possible.

She said: "Difficult months are ahead of us. How winter will be, how our Christmas will be - that will all be decided in these coming days and weeks, and it will be decided by our behaviour.

Read more: More than half of England living with heightened coronavirus restrictions

"What brought us so well through the first half year of the pandemic?

"It was that we stood together and obeyed the rules out of consideration and common sense. This is the most effective remedy we currently have against the pandemic, and it is more necessary now than ever."

Earlier this week, the federal and state governments agreed to toughen mask-wearing rules and make bars close early in areas where infections are high.

Germany has confirmed more than 7,000 new coronavirus infections for the first time, its second consecutive daily record.

Read more: No 10 urged to restart Greater Manchester coronavirus lockdown talks

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The Robert Koch Institute, Germany's national disease control centre, said early on Friday that 7,334 new cases were confirmed in the previous 24 hours.

That compares with 6,638 a day earlier.

Until this week, Germany's highest recorded figure was nearly 6,300 in late March, though testing has expanded vastly since then.

Figures tend to peak around the end of the week, but the latest reading underlines a sharp upward trend in recent weeks.

In Italy, Campania, which includes Naples, closed schools until the end of the month as the number of infections there surged above 1,000.

Italian health officials have declared the country in an "acute phase" after the country set records for new daily cases higher than even during the March-April peak, when the death toll surged well over 900 in one 24-hour period.

The death toll on Thursday rose to 83, one-third of those in Lombardy, after days hovering at half that nationally.