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Germany extends and tightens virus curbs amid concerns over possible spread of more infectious COVID-19 variants Updated: 2021-01-20 10:06:13 KST

German authorities have decided to extend the country's lockdown until February 14th, aiming to contain the spread of the virus amid news of a new variant found in there.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and state premiers agreed Tuesday that the lockdown will be put in place for most shops and schools.
Curfews, mandatory face mask wearing on public transportation and work-from-home schemes will also be included.
Experts, who are worried about the possible spread of the more infectious variants, said such measures are inevitable.
Against this backdrop, the German health ministry says it will beef up monitoring of the virus variants going forward.

"As a general rule, at least 5% of all positive tests should be genome sequenced. The analysis of the coronavirus thus becomes an integral part of pandemic surveillance."

While the UK is seeing a gradual downturn, it has recorded an accumulated death toll of 90-thousand.
The country has added over 16-hundred new deaths on Tuesday alone.
The UK now has the world's fifth highest COVID-19 death toll, trailing the U.S., Brazil, India and Mexico.
Elsewhere, Japan confirmed 103 new fatalities on Tuesday, the first daily death toll over 1-hundred.
This has raised the total death toll to over 49-hundred, while 11-hundred patients have severe or critical conditions.
Experts have warned the rising number of new cases and especially those with unidentified sources of infection in Tokyo may be indicating that the capital is undergoing a possible explosive spread.
Last week, a state of emergency was expanded to include seven more prefectures, in a bid to contain the country's third wave.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.
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