March 16, 2020 / 5:20 PM / 17 days ago

Merkel: Drastic closures needed to counter coronavirus

BERLIN, March 16 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday announced a raft of measures limiting social contact in an attempt to slow the progress of the coronavirus epidemic, but said the government would attempt to minimise the economic impact.

She told a news conference most non-grocery stores would close and restaurants would have to run restricted opening hours and guarantee a minimum distance between tables. Hospital visits would be limited to one a day, with additional restrictions to reduce the risk of infections spreading.

Cultural and entertainment establishments would also close, and holiday travel, whether at home and abroad, would cease for the duration of the emergency measures.

The G7 group of large industrial economies had agreed to coordinate to minimise the impact of the virus, she added. (Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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