The city of Essen in the western state of North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) on Sunday joined Germany’s list of urban centers to breach a key limit for coronavirus infections, leading authorities to announce a series of strict measures in an effort to contain the disease
According to NRW health authorities, the number of infections per 100,000 residents over a seven-day period stood at 57.3.
Earlier this week, Chancellor Angela Merkel entered talks with the mayors of Germany’s 11 largest cities and agreed to toughen restrictions if the number of COVID-19 cases passed the 50-mark.
Other cities which have exceeded the key coronavirus threshold includes Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt and Stuttgart.
As part of the new measures, the number of people allowed to meet for private celebrations and gatherings in Essen has been reduced from 50 to 25.
Facemasks must now also be worn in all public buildings.
Unlike Berlin and Cologne, Essen has not yet introduced a night-time curfew.
Dubbed Germany’s energy capital, the city of 600,000 is also home to a number of important German companies including electric utility companies E.ON and RWE.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Sunday recorded 3,483 new coronavirus cases and 11 deaths related to the virus, for a total of 322,864 cases and 9,615 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
mvb/rc (dpa, Reuters)
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