Instagram accused of harvesting biometric data of users


Merkel Extends German Virus Curbs to Just Before Christmas

(Bloomberg) — Chancellor Angela Merkel extended a partial lockdown for at least three weeks to just before Christmas as Germany struggles to regain control of the coronavirus spread.Europe’s largest economy tightened limits on private gatherings but kept schools and most businesses operating under a deal hashed out by Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s 16 states on Wednesday. The restrictions — slated to expire at the end of November — will run until Dec. 20 and will likely be extended unless there’s an unexpectedly rapid decline in contagion rates.While exponential growth has stopped, “we can’t be satisfied with this partial success,” the German chancellor said in Berlin after more than seven hours of talks. “We need yet another act of resolve.”With infection rates surging, German authorities this month ordered restaurants, gyms and cinemas to close. Nations like France and Britain imposed tougher restrictions, and with outbreaks there easing, officials are cautiously moving to loosen curbs ahead of the Christmas holidays.French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that he will gradually lift a nationwide lockdown from Saturday, while restrictions in the U.K. will be eased over Christmas to allow as many as three households to meet indoors.By contrast, Germany’s restrictions have yielded little progress in slowing the spread of the disease. Infection levels are still nearly three times the government’s target rate, and people with the disease in intensive care are at record levels.Merkel and the state premiers said they expect wide-ranging restrictions to stay in place until early January, particularly for restaurants and hotels. Germany will also seek to suspend the European ski season at least until Jan. 10, but that will be difficult, Merkel said.“We were well aware that the people wanted clarity for the rest of the year today,” she said. “That is their right, and we discussed with that in mind.”The chancellor and state premiers will revisit the country’s restrictions on Dec. 15.An extension of the partial lockdown isn’t likely enough to reach the target rate by Christmas, according to the Ifo research institute. A more rapid decrease would require tougher measures for schools, retailers or both, the group said.The costs for the shutdown — including reimbursing affected businesses for most of their lost revenue — continue to mount. Financial support in December is expected to total as much as 20 billion euros ($23.8 billion), according to people familiar with the negotiations. That could more than double total aid since early November to some 34 billion euros.“The situation doesn’t allow us to lift the November restrictions,” Merkel said. “We’re aware that behind the statistics are human lives.”(Updates with details and comments from Merkel)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Source link

Add a Comment