BERLIN, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the federal state governments have agreed not to tighten mandatory COVID-19 measures in Germany for the time being as the rate of new COVID-19 infections in the country has begun to slow, local media reported Tuesday.
Instead of introducing tougher COVID-19 measures, Merkel and the minister presidents of the federal states only appealed to the German population to reduce social contact to a minimum as the country is in the middle of a partial month-long lockdown for November, according to Deutsche Presse Agentur.
Contact restrictions were a "recipe for success," said Merkel during a press conference late on Monday after a video conference with the minister presidents. "Any contact that does not take place is good for fighting the pandemic," she stressed.
German citizens were urged to limit private gatherings with friends, relatives and acquaintances to one fixed additional household, the resolution by the German and federal state government noted.
Citizens should also refrain from unnecessary private trips and travel on public transport, according to the resolution. A decision on a possible closure of schools or an extension of the Christmas holidays has been postponed.
New COVID-19 infections in Germany increased 14,419 over the past 24 hours, bringing the national total to 815,746, while the peak was reached last Friday with 23,542 recorded cases, the Robert Koch Institute announced on Tuesday.
Due to measures including a closure of all bars and restaurants, which were introduced at the end of October, "we have stopped the exponential growth for now," said Merkel, but "a reversal of the trend has not yet been achieved."
Germany was still "a long way off" from a seven-day incidence of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, said Merkel. COVID-19 health measures in Germany for December and January are likely to be formulated at the meeting between Merkel and the minister presidents next week. Enditem