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Coronavirus live news: Germany extends partial lockdown as world suffers record daily deaths | World news

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British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has warned Britain that its Covid-19 economic emergency has only just begun after responding to news of the deepest slump in more than 300 years by pledging a fresh £55bn to tackle the pandemic.

On the day that the daily death toll from the virus reached a new second-wave peak of 696, the chancellor said that despite borrowing a peacetime record of £394bn this year, he would need to carry on spending in order to protect lives and livelihoods.

Sunak said his one-year spending plan for the economy included the biggest sustained increase in infrastructure investment for four decades, and involved more money for housing, railways, broadband upgrades and Boris Johnson’s green agenda, totalling £100bn next year:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed hope that the arrival of the first vaccines in coming weeks would help turn the corner on the pandemic.

“A lot indicates that 2021 will bring us relief,” she said.

The country’s disease control agency released a new version of its contact tracing app Wednesday that includes reminders for people to share positive test results with people they were in close proximity to.

The app had been downloaded 22.8 million times by Friday. Its decentralized, privacy-focused design has been copied by several other European countries.

More on Germany now, with the AP:

During a seven-hour video call, federal and state officials also agreed on a number of new restrictions.

These include:

—Limiting private gatherings to five people from up to two households, not counting children under 14. Over the festive period that number will be increased to 10, to allow for small family gatherings.

—Traditional New Year’s Eve fireworks will be discouraged, and banned entirely in some popular streets and squares.

—Employers will be encouraged to let staff work from home 23 December to 1 January.

—Masks will be required in front of stores, in parking lots and in most secondary schools.

—The number of customers allowed into larger stores will be reduced.

The government also plans around 17 billion euros ($20 billion) more in aid to compensate businesses hit by the shutdown, on top of 15 billion euros provided by federal authorities in November.

Germany, which has 83 million people, was credited with a relatively good performance in the first phase of the pandemic. It still has a lower death rate than several other European countries, and its current shutdown has been relatively mild.

Germany has reported a total of 961,320 virus cases since the pandemic began, including 14,771 deaths.

Germany extends partial lockdown

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state governors on Wednesday agreed to extend a partial shutdown well into December in an effort to further reduce the rate of Covid-19 infections ahead of the Christmas period.

Germany embarked on a so-called “wave-breaker” shutdown on 2 November, closing restaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities but leaving schools, shops and hair salons open. It was initially slated to last four weeks.

Merkel said the measures will now be extended until at least 20 December, with a goal of pushing the number of new coronavirus cases in each region below 50 per 100,000 inhabitants per week.

“We have to continue to pursue this goal,” she told reporters in Berlin.

Merkel said that while existing measures have succeeded in halting a surge in new coronavirus infections, they have stabilised at a high level.

Germany’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, reported 18,633 new cases over the past 24 hours — compared with 17,561 a week earlier.

“We can’t be satisfied with this partial success,” she said, noting that health officials on Wednesday also reported 410 deaths linked to Covid-19, the highest single-day total yet.

“(This) reminds us in the saddest way that behind the statistics are human fates,” Merkel said.

Summary

Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

My name is Helen Sullivan, and this time last year I was in Beirut preparing to have my first ever thanksgiving. Where were you – and do you celebrate the turkey holiday?

Let me know on Twitter @helenrsullivan.

As the world reported its highest daily death toll of the pandemic so far, with 12,785 Covid deaths reported in 24 hours, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state governors on Wednesday agreed to extend a partial shutdown well into December in an effort to further reduce the rate of Covid-19 infections ahead of the Christmas period.

Germany embarked on a so-called “wave-breaker” shutdown on 2 November, closing restaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities but leaving schools, shops and hair salons open. It was initially slated to last four weeks.

Merkel said the measures will now be extended until at least 20 December, with a goal of pushing the number of new coronavirus cases in each region below 50 per 100,000 inhabitants per week.

“We have to continue to pursue this goal,” she told reporters in Berlin.

  • Global cases surpassed 60m, according to researchers at both Johns Hopkins University. According to Reuters, the pace of new infections is accelerating and the United States is reporting its worst numbers of hospitalisations.
  • Authorities in Sicily asked Cuba’s government to send to the region about 60 health operators, including doctors and nurses, as hospitals are struggling with a shortage of medical personnel during the second wave. The request was filed this week to the Italian embassy in Cuba and consists of intensive care specialists, nurses, anaesthetists, resuscitators, virologists and pneumologists, the Italian newspaper la Repubblica reported.
  • The Americas reported more than 1.5m cases in the last seven days; the highest weekly number since the start of the pandemic, the World Health Organization regional branch PAHO said. The rapid surge of infections in the US continued and cases accelerated in countries of North, Central and South America, PAHO said. In Canada, infections were rising particularly among the elderly and indigenous communities.
  • The daily death toll in the US reached 2,157 – one person every 40 seconds. It was the first time since May that deaths had passed 2,000 in 24 hours.
  • Germany reported 410 deaths in 24 hours; its worst such toll since the pandemic began. It came as the chancellor Angela Merkel met with 16 federal state leaders to discuss restrictions for the Christmas and new year holidays.
  • Iran recorded its worst daily caseload, with the health ministry reporting 13,843 new infections. That pushed the national tally to 894,385 in the Middle East’s worst-hit country. The ministry’s spokeswoman, Sima Sadat Lari, told state TV the death toll rose by 469 in 24 hours to 46,207.

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