The German government has resorted to some drastic measures to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. It ordered all gatherings of more than two people be banned for at least two weeks.
Federal and regional authorities have agreed on what they call a “contact ban,” which basically prohibits all meetings between people in which more than two persons are involved. Exceptions will be made only for families and people living together in the same households, Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
All restaurants that continue to open should be closed immediately. From now on, they will only be allowed to serve take-away meals. The same measure applies to service industry businesses, such as hairdressers or beauty-care studios.
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The head of the western North Rhine-Westphalia state, Armin Laschet, warned that there could be stiff fines for those violating the newly imposed restrictions. People found in breach of it could face a penalty charge of whopping € 25,000. There will be “zero tolerance against the rule breakers,” the regional prime minister said.
The unreasonable will be punished – hard and clear.
What is unclear, however, is whether the fines would be applied nationwide or solely in North Rhine-Westphalia.The western German state has been the hardest hit among all regions since more than 7,300 out of some 21,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany were recorded there.
Other German states introduced some tough measures of their own. An eastern state of Saxony banned people from leaving their homes without valid reasons starting Monday midnight. After that, they will only be allowed to go to work or to a shop to buy some necessary goods.
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Chancellor Angela Merkel has thrown her weight behind the new measures by saying that they are not simple recommendations but rules. She also warned that police will monitor if the new regulations are observed.The situation in Germany has become dire enough for the government to deploy the army to some of the worst hit areas.
On Sunday, the German military provided emergency aid to the western town of Heinsberg, which was particularly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The soldiers handed over some 3,000 respirators as well as 15,000 face masks and 8,000 smokes to the local aid workers, according to the German media.
The military also provided two medical ventilators to the local intensive care units, the North Rhine-Westphalia State Command of the Bundeswehr confirmed.
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