Coronavirus pandemic: Germany seeks EU deal to close ski resorts

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

shareSharenocloseShare pagelinkCopy linkAbout sharingimage copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionThe Ischgl resort in Austria was linked to outbreaks abroad earlier this year

Germany is seeking an agreement with EU countries to keep ski resorts closed until early January, in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus.

"I will say this openly that it won't be easy, but we will try," Chancellor Angela Merkel said after speaking to Germany's regional leaders on Tuesday.

The news came as the country extended its partial lockdown until 20 December.

Some of the early European coronavirus hotspots were at ski resorts, helping spread infections across the continent.

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Italy's prime minister has already backed delaying the start of the ski season, but has stressed the need for a European solution.

"If Italy decided to shut down all its ski lifts without any support from France, Austria and the other countries, then Italian tourists would risk going abroad and taking the contagion back home," he told the La7 channel earlier this week.

Austria, however, has voiced concern over the plan, with the country's finance minister saying that if the EU forced ski areas to remain closed, "then they will have to pay for it".

Austria's government is already facing legal action over the Ischgl ski village, which was linked to cases in 45 countries after skiers brought the virus home with them.

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On Wednesday, the German government also announced the extension of the partial lockdown, with stricter rules limiting private gatherings to five people from two households coming into effect from next week – although children under the age of 14 are exempt.

The country has also unveiled its plans for Christmas, with meetings of up to 10 people allowed from 23 December until 1 January.

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