People now know much more about protecting themselves and the health system than they did back in March, when a national lockdown was implemented, Merkel told Parliament on Wednesday.

We all want to avoid a second national shutdown and we can do that.

She warned, however, that Germany will face a tough few months with cold weather approaching.

“Germany has until now come through the pandemic relatively well thanks to the extraordinarily responsible behavior of citizens in the last few months,” Merkel said. “But we see now that autumn is coming, a difficult phase is ahead.”

The statements come a day after the German leader discussed the pandemic with heads of the country’s 16 states. They decided to impose a cap on the number of people attending parties and family gatherings in areas worst affected by Covid-19.

Any region where infection rates reach 35 per 100,000 people, the maximum number of people allowed to attend gatherings in public spaces or rented venues will be limited to 50. Only 25 people will be allowed at public gatherings if infection rates hit 50 per 100,000 people.

The public will be advised to limit visitors to homes to to just 10 people in the hardest-hit regions.While supporting targeted action against regional outbreaks, Merkel also encouraged citizens to stay in Germany during the upcoming autumn school holidays.

Covid-19 infection numbers currently in the country stand at around 2,000 a day, but Merkel warned that they could leap to 19,200 a day by Christmas if the current trend continues.

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