As the coronavirus outbreak spreads across the world, Germany has ramped up its efforts to slow down the spread. Chancellor Angela Merkel has banned religious services, told people to cancel holiday travel and shut down numerous venues. A shocking video of the Brandenburg Gate, normally bustling historical attraction, showed the square almost entirely empty as a result of the new measures.
Unlike some neighbouring countries, the German local authorities are the ones with the power to shut down things like schools or public transport.
Areas like Bavaria, Thuringia and Bremen made decisions to shut schools, cinemas and museums late last week.
Berlin has now decided that all bars and clubs should close immediately too.
At last count, a sixth of the over 260 Berliners with the virus had caught it while clubbing.
A number of venues had already announced they were closing for the foreseeable future and police visited a further 200 to enforce the new rules.
The Berlin Senate decided today that from now on all public and non-public events in Berlin with 50 or more participants are forbidden.
Health Minister Jens Spahn asked people returning from Italy, Switzerland and Austria to self-isolate for up to two weeks to help slow the spread.
Germany now has close to 7,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 14 deaths.
Spain has now implemented controls at land borders, only allowing Spanish citizens, residents and special cases in the country.
French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered people to stay at home and only go out for essential duties.
This all follows the World Health Organisation declaring Europe as the “epicentre” of the pandemic.
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Italy still remains the country with the highest number of confirmed cases outside of mainland China, where the virus originated.
Over 80,000 cases have been reported in China.
There are currently over 180,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world.
Over 7000 people have died.
Almost 80,000 have recovered.
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