Germany extends shop closures, limit movements

Germany has decided to extend and tighten coronavirus restrictions to help contain the outbreak.

Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Tuesday that almost all retailers will remain closed until the end of this month. The measure was due to expire on Sunday.

Merkel also said that in regions where the number of infections exceeded 200 per 100,000 residents over the past week, movement will be limited to a 15-kilometer radius from home. Trips beyond that distance will be banned.

Germany forced restaurants to close in November, except for takeout services. Almost all retailers and schools have been closed since December, but the restrictions haven't helped curb the infections.

Single-day fatalities hit a record 1,129 on December 30.

Vaccination started on December 26. But it is expected to take until summer to procure vaccines for everyone who wants to get the shots.

Merkel said experts are warning that the pandemic will be most powerful during winter, partly because of a new variant of the virus. She said strict measures are needed to tackle the infections.