Coronavirus: Germany bans religious assemblies, closes shops, bars, and brothels

Medical staff inform people lining up for a test in a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) clearing-up center in Dresden, Germany, March 16, 2020. (Reuters)

The German government on Monday banned gatherings in churches, mosques and synagogues and ordered non-essential shops as well as playgrounds shut, as it battled to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Supermarkets, banks and post offices will stay open, but the sweeping restrictions aimed at “limiting social contact in public places” will leave most sites from museums to swimming pools to gyms shuttered.

Under guidelines agreed by the federal government and state governments, bars, clubs, theatres, zoos and brothels must close. Gatherings in churches, mosques or other religious establishments, and in sports and social clubs must also cease.

Chancellor Angela Merkel asked for citizens' cooperation: "The better everyone sticks to these rules, the faster we'll get through this phase," she told a news conference. "And I think we all want to get through this as quickly as possible."

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Last Update: 19:02 KSA 22:02 - GMT 19:02