Merkel plans circuit-break lockdown for Germany

Germany may be about to reimpose a coronavirus lockdown almost approaching the level of the sweeping measures that hit last spring.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet regional leaders on Wednesday to discuss measures that will mean the closing of restaurants and bars, but schools and nurseries would be kept open.

The plan will be to try and agree on nationwide rules in favor of a confusing patchwork of local measures.

A draft document seen by Reuters said people are to go out in public only with members of their own household, but fitness studios, cinemas and theaters would be amongst those venues forced to close once more.

Germany is Europe's largest economy and was widely praised for its pandemic handling earlier in the year, keeping infection and death rates low.

But Europe is now in the midst of a second wave. Deaths from COVID-19 have risen almost 40% on the continent in just a week.

France is likely to follow Germany with similar measures. Italy and Spain have already moved to reimpose their own.

According to the document, action is needed now to ensure "no far-reaching limits" are necessary either socially or economically for the Christmas period.

Shops would be permitted to remain open if they implement hygiene measures and limit customer numbers.

Almost all regions of Germany face an exponential increase in infection rates and local health authorities have become unable to trace all infections.

The restrictions are set to be put in place next week. German Health Minister Jens Spahn said ”If we wait until the intensive care units are full, it will be too late."