Germany reports record Covid-19 deaths ahead of Christmas talks

The federal states are expected to extend the "lockdown light" until Dec 20, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (REUTERS) - Germany reported a record 410 Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, before the 16 federal state leaders and Chancellor Angela Merkel meet on Wednesday (Nov 25) to discuss restrictions for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 18,633 to 961,320, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

That was 1,072 cases more than the day before but 5,015 less than the record increase reported on Friday.

The reported death toll rose by a record 410 to 14,771, the tally showed. A week ago, the toll was at 305 and on Nov 2, the day Germany introduced a partial lockdown, at 49.

The federal states are expected to extend the "lockdown light" until Dec 20 as the measures broke the upwards trend but did not bring numbers down. This will keep bars, restaurants and entertainment venues shut while schools and shops stay open.

They also plan to reduce the number of people allowed to meet to five from Dec 1, but allow gatherings of up to 10 people over Christmas and New Year to let families and friends celebrate together, a draft proposal showed on Tuesday.

"Christmas is a family celebration, New Year's Eve more a party with friends," Bavaria state premier Markus Soeder told the ARD broadcaster on Wednesday. He was not sure whether it made sense to apply the 10 people rule to that party as well.

"We will have to talk about that again today."

Soeder said he understood that states with significantly lower infections might be able to loosen restrictions, but there was no plan for tougher measures if infections start rising again.

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