Germany studies a document demise from COVID-19 forward of the Christmas talks

© Reuters. The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany reported a record 410 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours before the 16 federal leaders and Chancellor Angela Merkel meet on Wednesday to discuss restrictions on the Christmas and New Year holidays.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose by 18,633 to 961,320, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.

That was 1,072 more cases than the day before, but 5,015 fewer than the record increase reported on Friday.

The reported death toll rose by a record 410 to 14,771. A week ago the toll was 305 and on November 2, the day Germany introduced a partial block, it was 49.

The federal states are expected to extend the "lockdown light" until December 20th as the measures broke the uptrend but did not lower the numbers. This will keep bars, restaurants and entertainment venues closed while schools and shops will remain open.

They also plan to reduce the number of people allowed to meet from December 1st to five, but allow gatherings of up to 10 people over Christmas and New Years so families and friends can celebrate together, like a draft one Proposal on Tuesday showed.

"Christmas is a family celebration, New Year's Eve is more of a party with friends," said Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soeder on Wednesday opposite the ARD broadcaster. He wasn't sure if it made sense to apply the 10-person rule to this party as well. "We have to talk about that again today."

Soeder said he understood that states with significantly lower infections could potentially relax restrictions, but there was no plan for tighter measures if infections pick up again.

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