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Merkel, German Mayors agree stricter Covid-19 measures

<p id="content">German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mayors of the country's 11 largest cities have agreed that stricter restrictions are immediately required to keep the Covid-19 infections rate below the critical warning level of 50 per 100,000 inhabitants over a seven-day period.</p>
At a press conference, Merkel said that these were "crucial weeks" in the fight against the pandemic, as cities across Germany have reported significant increases in new cases in recent days, reports Xinhua news agency.

"It has to be our goal to keep the number of infections within a range where every infection can be traced," Merkel said following her video conference with the mayors.

The restrictions would include the extension of the mandatory wearing of a face mask; size limits for group gatherings in public and at private parties; and, if necessary, the introduction of a curfew and possible restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages at restaurants and bars.

"I know that if there have to be strict rules for weddings and family celebrations, then this intervenes deeply in our private life and our freedom," said Merkel.

"But we are at a point where we have to set priorities."

If the number of new Covid-19 infections in hotspots cannot be kept below the critical warning level within 10 days at the latest, additional targeted restrictions would become unavoidable, a government document said.

"The infection numbers might be rising, but we are anything but powerless," Merkel said, appealing to the citizens to follow the Covid-19 rules.

So far, Germany has reported more than 320,000 coronavirus cases, while the death toll stood at 9,599..