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Bavaria on lockdown: First German state to 'shut down public life almost completely' for 2 weeks in bid to stop Covid-19

Bavaria on lockdown: First German state to 'shut down public life almost completely' for 2 weeks in bid to stop Covid-19
Bavaria will introduce tight restrictions on movement for two weeks in the hope of containing the Covid-19 pandemic that has seized Europe, making it the first German state to introduce a lockdown.

The strict measures include the closure of restaurants and bars, and bans large gatherings. People are urged to not leave their homes unless they are going to work, visiting the doctor, or buying groceries and medicine. Limited outdoor activity is still allowed but only alone or with a family member.

Minister Markus Soeder said on Friday that the lockdown, which begins at midnight, was not an "easy" decision to make.

"We're shutting down public life almost completely," he said while announcing the extreme new measures.

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The new protocols were described as "radical restrictions," but Soeder stressed that they were necessary and that the state would only emerge "stronger" if it faced the health crisis head-on.

The move comes as Berlin considers similar action nationwide. The government has already advised Germans against partaking in normal weekend activities, but is waiting to see how citizens react.

"We will look at the behavior of the people this weekend," Angela Merkel's chief of staff, Helge Braun, told local media. "Saturday is a decisive day, and we will keep a close eye on that."

Germany has resisted imposing a nationwide quarantine, even as neighboring states shutter all non-essential movement.

As of Friday, Germany has more than 16,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 44 deaths, according to a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

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