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Merkel says 'tough' new COVID-19 rules are necessary to curb spread

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that “tough” new COVID-19 rules are necessary to curb the spread of the virus.

Merkel made the remarks in a weekly video address Saturday, according to The Associated Press. It comes after the country imposed new “emergency brake" restrictions that went into effect at midnight, including a new curfew.

During the address, Merkel said the measures were “urgently needed,” and noted that other countries like Britain and Ireland saw infection rates drop due to strict measures.

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“No country that managed to break the third wave of the pandemic and then loosen restrictions again did so without tough measures such as nighttime curfews,” she said, according to the AP.

The speech came after Germany announced on Friday that its “emergency brake” restrictions would go into effect Saturday after the upper house of Parliament passed a law allowing the government to do so, according to CNN.

The law allows the government to impose lockdowns on states, as opposed to states making such efforts on their own. Germany imposed curfews between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and is limiting private gatherings, sports and shop openings in areas that report over 100 new infections per 100,000 people in one week, CNN reported.

Germany reported 22,262 new coronavirus cases Saturday and 289 new deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Overall, it's logged 3.2 million coronavirus infections and 81,492 deaths. It has also administered 24 million coronavirus vaccine doses and fully vaccinated 7 percent of its population.