Germany increases physical distancing with ban on groups of over 2 people

Mar 23 2020, 5:07 pm

New drastic measures have been enacted in Germany to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

German chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday put in place some of the strictest physical distancing measures for a Western democracy during the current pandemic, with a ban on groups of more than two people in a public setting. There are some exceptions for families and those who live close together.

Her government also closed businesses that provide personal services where physical distancing is not possible, and provided police and law enforcement with new powers to enforce the growing measures. The heightened measures will last for at least two weeks.

“Everyone who avoids unnecessary encounters helps all those who are in hospitals providing care to more and more people each day. So that is how we will save lives. This will be difficult for many, and it will also be important not to abandon anyone and to take care of all those who need a dose of cheer and encouragement. As families, and as a society, we will find other ways to help each other,” said the German leader in a statement.

“Even now, we have come up with many creative ideas for standing up to this virus and its impact on society. Even now, grandchildren are recording podcasts for their grandparents, letting them know they are not alone.”

This also comes as Merkel enters a 14-day period of self-isolation, after her doctor tested positive for the coronavirus.

Earlier in the weekend, prior to being informed of her doctor’s condition, Merkel was spotted doing her own grocery shopping, buying items that include food, wine, and toilet paper.

As of the time of writing, Germany has the fifth-highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, just behind Spain. The country has 29,056 confirmed cases, including 4,183 newly confirmed cases today. To date in Germany, there have been 123 deaths.