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Germany to limit gathering sizes, ban spectators from events amid omicron surge

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Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced new restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19 on Tuesday, including limiting private gatherings to 10 people and closing large events like soccer games to spectators, according to Reuters

“We cannot and must not close our eyes to the next wave,” Scholz said, per the news service. “Corona won’t take a Christmas break.”

The Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases had suggested even stricter measures, such as restricting travel and further limiting contact.

Scholz and Germany’s state premiers will meet again on Jan. 7 regarding COVID-19 measures, Reuters added.

Earlier this month, Germany saw its highest daily COVID-19 death toll since February, with 527 new deaths in addition to 69,601 new COVID-19 cases.

As hospitals struggle with shortages as a result of breakthrough infections in staffers, experts also have cautioned that the omicron variant could make matters worse, and even impact emergency services, electricity and water supplies, Reuters noted.

Despite 70 percent of the country being fully vaccinated, Germany has one of the highest COVID-19 daily case rates in the world behind only the U.S., the U.K. and France, according to The New York Times.

The country currently has a daily average of cases 42,266, a 19 percent decrease from its average two weeks ago. However, deaths in Germany are up 37 percent, per the Times.

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