Berlin [Germany], November 26 (ANI/Sputnik): Germany prolongs the coronavirus-linked restrictions until December 20, while the limitations of social contacts are likely to be in place until January, Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a press conference after the meeting with minister-presidents of federal states.
The decision was first announced by the Minister-President of the federal state Saxony-Anhalt Reiner Haseloff.
"The clear statement of the federation and federal states says that we cannot lift the restrictions in late November," Merkel said on late Wednesday, adding that the limited lockdown is likely to be extended until December 20.
The chancellor stressed that the limitations of social contacts would be withdrawn earlier than in January only in case of a sharp decrease in the number of new COVID-19 cases.
"We also share an opinion that the due to the high number of new cases ... the restrictions must remain in place until the beginning of January if we do not see an unexpected decrease in the number of infections to less than 50 people per 100,000 [within seven days]," Merkel added.
The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11. To date, more than 60.1 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 1.41 million fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
Germany has registered 983,312 coronavirus cases so far, with about 15,000 fatalities, JHU says. (ANI/Sputnik)