In Germany, Now Only 2 People Can Meet

Country issues more severe restrictions amid coronavirus pandemic
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2020 1:08 AM CDT
In Germany, Now Only 2 People Can Meet
A man laughs after he plays Beethoven's Ode of Joy on a balcony at the district Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, March 22, 2020.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the globe, with more than 339,000 cases reported as of early Monday and more than 14,700 deaths, NBC News and CNN report. But interestingly, Germany has only reported 84 deaths from the disease caused by a novel coronavirus, even though 22,364 in the country have tested positive for it. As the Guardian reports, there are various theories as to why the death rate might be so low, including the possibility that Germany had more time to better prepare, as well as the fact that the country started testing early and often. As the virus peaks and testing capacity becomes stretched, one expert warns, the death rate will likely appear to go up even though the truth is more cases are simply being missed. More from Germany, plus the latest updates from other countries around the world:

  • Germany had already implemented restrictions, but they are now even more severe. Meetings of more than two people are no longer allowed unless the people involved are cohabitants in the same household. Exceptions will be made for work gatherings as long as physical distancing is followed. Restaurants are now only allowed to be open for takeout orders, and more businesses were told to close entirely (many non-essential businesses had already shuttered), including salons. The new restrictions will be in place at least two weeks, the BBC reports. Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel is under self-isolation after a doctor who vaccinated her Friday tested positive for COVID-19.

  • In the UK and Ireland, all McDonald's are closing as of Monday night, CNN reports. It's not clear when they will reopen. Also in the UK, the 1.5 million people deemed to be most vulnerable have been ordered not to leave their homes for 12 weeks; authorities will provide food so they don't need to go out for that.
  • Australia's largest state, New South Wales, is shuttering all non-essential services. New Zealand said Monday it would issue its highest alert and close all schools and non-essential businesses. It is also ordering citizens to stay home during the four-week lockdown starting Wednesday night, per the AP.
  • Starting Tuesday, no tourists will be allowed to enter Cuba and any citizens or residents re-entering the country will be quarantined at a hospital or similar facility for two weeks. Singapore is closing its borders to short-term visitors and those who are traveling through the aviation hub.
  • France officially adopted a state of emergency law Sunday night, which gives the government greater powers to fight the pandemic; the Local reports 112 people died from the virus Sunday in the country, the same number as the previous day's death toll. French police are reportedly fining those who do not follow the country's current confinement rules; it is on lockdown, with only essential trips outside one's home allowed. The Independent reports France also recently lost its first doctor to the virus.
  • Spain is extending its state of emergency and adopted temporary travel restrictions Sunday; it has the third-highest number of cases, behind China and Italy, Fox News reports, and has been on lockdown for a week. Non-essential flights from the country will be restricted for 30 days. The restrictions will not apply to European Union residents.
  • Greece is banning non-essential movement starting Monday. In El Salvador, a 30-day nationwide curfew began Saturday. Saudi Arabia is now under a nightly curfew every night for 21 days, starting Monday. The United Arab Emirates is closing all food markets and shopping malls for at least two weeks.
  • In India, what CNN refers to as "the world's biggest 'public curfew' exercise" began Sunday; Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on citizens to stay inside for 14 hours. But even though many tourist hot spots were empty, the AP reports people were crowding trains in an attempt to get home as cities and factories are increasingly shutting down. Then on Monday, the country announced that 75 major districts, including New Delhi, will go into lockdown until March 31.
  • Colombia announced its first coronavirus death over the weekend—but the New York Times reports at least 23 inmates were also killed in prison riots sparked by virus fears. Officials say inmates were trying to escape.
  • Though China recently had three consecutive days with no new local cases of coronavirus being reported, it is increasingly dealing with cases being brought in from other countries. Starting Monday, all international flights to Beijing will be diverted to other Chinese cities; those screened and deemed healthy will then be able to continue on to Beijing.
  • CNN notes that though Hong Kong initially seemed like a "a model for how to contain" the virus, it appears to have let its guard down too soon, with cases shooting up over the past week.
  • Coronavirus infections are increasingly beginning to be reported in various countries in Africa.
Meanwhile, in the US, at least eight states so far have issued stay-at-home orders. (More coronavirus stories.)

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