Italy announces new Christmas restrictions as Merkel urges video call for family meetings

WION Web Team
Berlin Updated: Dec 19, 2020, 09:06 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in Europe Photograph:( AFP )

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On Saturday, Germany recorded 702 deaths and 31,000 infections with the total number of coronavirus cases rising to over 1.4 million and the death toll surging to over 25,800.

As Europeans get set for Christmas amid the coronavirus pandemic, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged citizens to avoid visiting family members and to use video calls to greet each other.

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"Women and men stationed far away from home to ensure our security know what it means to have limited contact with loved ones," Merkel said during podcast, adding,"They know what it means to only be able to Skype over a long period of time instead of being together."

Germany was earlier able to spread of the virus but in the last two months, the virus has surged in the country with the country under strict partial lockdown rules.

On Saturday, Germany recorded 702 deaths and 31,000 infections with the total number of coronavirus cases rising to over 1.4 million and the death toll surging to over 25,800.

Meanwhile, Italy which was the worst-hit country with the virus in the initial months of the pandemic in the March-June period announced that new restrictions over Christmas and New Years.

The Italian government has declared the whole country as a "red" zone which is the highest coronavirus alert.

PM Giuseppe Conte's government has banned the opening of bars and restaurants over Christmas with restrictions set to last till January 2021.

"Our experts fear that the infection curve will increase during the Christmas period," PM Conte declared.

The death toll in Italy due to the virus has risen to over 68,000 which is the highest in Europe with over 1.9 million infection cases.

The virus continues to surge worldwide the death toll rising to 1.6 million and over 75,000 cases. The United States is the worst-hit country with the virus with over 17.4 million cases and 313,7600 deaths.

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