BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel is pledging to help companies hit by a new German partial shutdown “quickly and unbureaucratically” as the country reports the latest in a string of daily coronavirus infection records.
German officials decided this week to shut down bars, restaurants and leisure facilities for four weeks starting Monday and impose new contact restrictions. The aim is to curb a rapid rise in new infections and prevent the health system from being overwhelmed.
The government plans to spend up to 10 billion euros ($11.7 billion) to compensate companies hit by the latest shutdown.
Merkel said in her weekly video message that “we will not leave companies that face difficulties because of the current crisis through no fault of their own alone. We want to help quickly and unbureaucratically.”
On Saturday, the national disease center, the Robert Koch Institute, reported 19,059 confirmed new cases over the last 24 hours, and another 103 deaths. The figure — up from the previous record set Friday of 18,681 — takes Germany’s total cases since the pandemic started to 518,753 and its death toll to 10,452.