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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - BERLIN — Germany's lockdown was extended until Feb. 14 and stricter mask rules were imposed for people in shops and on public transport, as Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the country must act now to prevent COVID-19 case numbers from spiraling.
A document drawn up by Merkel's government and the 16 state premiers described the coming weeks as crucial, citing the threat posed by new variants of coronavirus that are more infectious than the original.
Now is the time to prevent the threat posed by this mutated virus. So it's about prevention, Merkel said at the end of the hours-long talks between state and federal leaders.
Individual cases of a more highly contagious coronavirus variant, which emerged in Britain have been found in Germany, but health authorities say they still do not have a complete picture of how widespread it is in the country.
Germany has closed schools, non-essential shops, bars, restaurants, and leisure and cultural facilities under a lockdown that has been incrementally tightened since early November.
The measures also ban people from meeting with more than one other person from another household. — WAM
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