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COVID-19

EXPLAINED: These are the German states with curfew restrictions

As new nationwide restrictions come into force, some areas of Germany have opted for stricter curfews in a a bid to bring coronavirus numbers down.

EXPLAINED: These are the German states with curfew restrictions
Tables shut off at a restaurant in Dresden, Saxony. Photo: DPA

Just days before Christmas, Germany is bringing in tougher lockdown measures, including the closure of shops, schools and a ban on alcohol.

Some states are going further by ordering people to stay at home at certain times of the day or night.

According to the government and states' strategy, when an area clocks up more than 200 cases per 100,000 residents in seven days, exit restrictions should be put in place.

Here are areas currently affected.

READ ALSO: Germany sees record death toll on first day of new lockdown measures

Bavaria

Bavaria is under a stricter lockdown than most of the country. That's because the southern region, with a population of more than 13 million, is struggling to bring down the number of Covid-19 cases.

Throughout the day, people are only allowed to leave their homes for good reasons. These include, for example: to go to work or to the doctor's, exercise, shopping and meetings with one other household (which are still permitted – but there can only be a maximum of five people in total).

In addition, there is a night-time curfew between 9pm and 5am. Being in public spaces is then only permitted for very few valid reasons.

According to the Bavarian cabinet, these include emergencies or medical treatments that cannot be postponed, going to work, exercising custody and access rights, caring for people in need of support, accompanying people who are ill or dying, or walking the dog. A violation of the nationwide curfew is punishable with a minimum fine of €500.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) the state logged 27,542 cases in the last seven days. There have been an average of 209.8 Covid-19 infections per 100,000 residents in a week. To compare, the seven day incidence rate for the whole of Germany is 179.8. A total of 5,163 people have died in Bavaria since the start of the pandemic.

Saxony

Saxony is currently Germany's worst-affected state. A strict lockdown has been in effect in the eastern state, which has around four million people, since Monday.

Residents there can only leave their homes for valid reasons such as for work, shopping, visiting the doctor or outdoor exercise within a 15-kilometre radius. 

In some particularly badly affected districts (districts or cities with an incidence value of 200 on five consecutive days), an extended night-time curfew is also in force. It means people can't leave their homes between 10pm and 6am, unless its for essential reasons such as work or to care for someone.

According to the RKI, the state logged 16,576 cases within the last seven days. There have been an average of 407.1 Covid-19 infections per 100,000 residents in a week. A total of 1,855 people have died in Saxony since the start of the pandemic.

READ ALSO: Germany's tougher Christmas lockdown rules are the right move – but should they have come sooner?

The map below by DPA shows the districts with the highest number of cases per 100,000 people within seven days.

Hesse

In the central state of Hesse, night-time curfew restrictions have been in force between 9pm and 5am since Friday in districts or cities with an incidence of more than 200 for three days in a row. Leaving your own home during this time is only permitted for valid reasons, such as for work or to care for someone.

The state is home to around 6.2 million people.

According to the RKI, the state registered 11,420 Covid-19 cases in the last seven days. There have been an average of 181.6 infections per 100,000 residents in a week. A total of 1,906 people have died in Hesse since the start of the pandemic.

Baden-Württemberg

In Baden-Württemberg, curfew restrictions have been in effect since Saturday between 8pm and 5am. Residents can only leave their home during this time now for valid reasons, such as work or to care for someone.

The southern state is home to around 11 million people.

According to the RKI, the state logged 21,278 cases in the last seven days. There have been an average of 191.7 Covid-19 infections per 100,000 residents in a week. A total of 3,628 people have died in Baden-Württemberg since the start of the pandemic.

READ ALSO: Covid-19 in Germany worse than ever 'due to carelessness', says public health boss

Berlin

In Berlin, from Wednesday December 16th people can only leave their home for important reasons. for example, to go shopping, to do sports or to work. “All Berliners are also urgently advised to avoid travel,” says the Senate.

Berlin is home to around 3.6 million people.

According to the RKI, the city state logged 6,663 coronavirus cases in the last seven days. There have been an average of 181.6 infections per 100,000 residents in a week. A total of 899 people have died in Berlin since the start of the pandemic.

Brandenburg

In Brandenburg, which has around 2.5 million residents, people should only leave their homes for essential reasons such as work, shopping, doctors and and for sports alone, in pairs or with members of their own household.

A strict curfew applies from 10pm until 5am. During this time people must stay at home unless it's essential to leave.

According to the RKI, the state logged 3,723 coronavirus cases in the last seven days. There have been an average of 147.6 infections per 100,000 residents in a week. A total of 540 people have died in Brandenburg since the start of the pandemic.

Thuringia

In Thuringia, which has around 2.1 million people, leaving your home or accommodation between 10pm and 5am without an important reason is not allowed as of Wednesday December 16th.

According to the RKI, the state logged 3,723 cases in the last seven days. There have been an average of 254.9 Covid-19 infections per 100,000 residents in a week. A total of 563 people have died in Thuringia since the start of the pandemic.
 

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COVID-19

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.

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