Germany keeping restrictions in place amid soaring COVID-19 infections

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Germany will not loosen its COVID-19 restrictions that were toughened earlier this month as the country endures a surge in coronavirus cases.

On Monday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said "we don't need a change of course" when speaking of the country's COVID-19 policies with the daily newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, according to The Associated Press.

"It is, in any case, certainly not appropriate to loosen the rules broadly in the middle of the omicron wave," he added.

On Jan. 7, Scholz and the country's 16 governors enhanced restrictions for entering bars and restaurants, though they also shortened the required quarantine period at the same time.

The chancellor's recent remarks came on Monday ahead of a meeting during which he and the governors are set to discuss how the country will move forward during the pandemic.

They are expected to announce that PCR tests will be prioritized for higher risk groups including health care employees and older people, the AP reported.

The group is also set to discuss the possibility of a universal vaccine mandate, a topic lawmakers are expected to debate on Wednesday, the wire service said.

Also on Monday, Germany's top education official, Astrid-Sabine Busse, said that students would not be required to attend school in person until the end of January. Schools will, however, remain open for any students who wish to be there in person, the AP added.

In the past two weeks, Germany has hit several new records in terms of daily infections. On Monday, Germany reported 63,393 cases in the past day, and the country's health minister said he expects cases will not peak until mid-February, the AP noted.

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