Germany to extend lockdown as Covid-19 infection rate grows

(Update 1: adds news of extended restrictions, alters headline, lede)

Berlin, Mar 22 (efe-epa).- Germany will extend its current Covid-19 restrictions on social life until April 18 amid a growing infection rate in the country.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and regional powers agreed on the measure during a meeting on Monday, according to local press. It is the latest setback in the country’s plans to gradually reopen.

Germany’s seven-day cumulative incidence rate has reached 107.3 per 100,000 people. The rate peaked on 22 December at 197.6 per 100,000 but fell below 100 by the end of January amid tough restrictions on social life. It began to rise again in mid-February.

According to the Robert Koch Institute, the federal department of disease control, Germany recorded 89,207 new Covid-19 cases in the last week while health authorities reported over 7,700 new cases in the last 24 hours.

The number of ICU patients in Germany increased to 3,056 by Sunday, according to the country’s emergency medicine association DIVI. Over half of those patients require a ventilator to breathe.

The uptick in figures comes amid a debate on foreign travel.

Germany’s government maintains its official recommendation against all travel outside of the country, but it recently removed several regions in Spain, including popular destinations such as Mallorca, from its list of high-risk destinations.

Passengers returning from those regions do not have to provide a negative PCR or undergo quarantine.

It has also provoked controversy in Spain, where residents are confined to their regions for the duration of the Easter break.EFE-EPA

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