Germany's federal and regional authorities agreed to announce a major new nationwide lockdown no later than December 16, the Business Insider web portal reported citing results of talks involving chiefs of staff of the federal and local governments.
According to the portal, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's administration insists on introducing a new lockdown as early as Tuesday, 15 December. The final decision will be made on Sunday, when the head of the German government will hold a video conference with prime ministers of regional governments. The video conference is scheduled to begin at 10:00 local time (12:00 Moscow time).
In line with the lockdown's expected rules, only members of two households, not more than five persons in total, will be allowed to gather in houses and apartments. Children under 14 years do not fall under the rule. In the period of 24-26 October, up to 10 people can meet at one location, but all of them must be relatives.
However, the German Chancellor's office and local authorities still disagree on whether schools and kindergartens should be closed during the lockdown period. According to Business Insider, an agreement in principle was reached to let schoolchildren study online until 10 January. Merkel's administration wants to close kindergartens until January 10 as well, but regional governments insist that they should remain open.
At the moment, the so-called soft lockdown is currently in place in Germany, with kindergartens, schools, shopping malls and non-essential stores working.
Meanwhile, lockdown opponents took to the streets in Germany's Frankfurt, Erfurt and Dresden on Saturday, despite court rulings that prohibit mass gatherings due to the pandemic.
At least 72 people were detained in Dresden, the capital of the eastern German state of Saxony. According to local police, almost 300 different public order violations were registered during the protest.
No detentions were reported in Frankfurt, although hundreds of police officers were deployed in the city center to prevent lockdown opponents from clashing with a crowd of people supporting those measures.
The number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 28,438 in the past day. A total of 496 COVID-19 patients died in the reported period. Germany's overall coronavirus case count currently stands at 1,300,516, including 21,466 fatalities.