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Countries across Europe are tightening up or extending their lockdowns in a bid to suppress the latest more contagious strain of the virus.
In Germany, Angela Merkel warned the country’s tough anti-Covid measures might have to last another 10 weeks to contain the big rise in infections and curb the death toll which is running at between 900 and 1,000 people a day. Numbers may be even higher because they were under-reported during the Christmas holidays.
Merkel added that unless the latest measures – the closure of all schools and non-essential shops – are enforced for longer, she fears that infections may rise 10-fold by Easter. At the same time, Germany has just ordered extra doses of vaccines for when they are finally approved by the EU.