On Wednesday, November 25, Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of Germany's 16 federal states agreed to extend and tighten restrictions in place to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) until at least December 20. Merkel indicated that measures would likely be extended further into January 2021, but there may be some easing of restrictions during the Christmas holiday period. Germany entered a partial lockdown on November 2, under which bars, restaurants, and leisure facilities have been closed but schools and shops have remained open. Additionally, residents are being asked to keep social contacts to a minimum and avoid all nonessential travel. From Tuesday, December 1, private gatherings will be limited to five people, with the number set to rise to ten over Christmas. Travel for leisure purposes is strongly discouraged until at least January 10.
As of November 25, there have been 979,920 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Germany with 14,925 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by
local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately.
Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are
likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers
are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival
to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due
to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine
upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.