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Merkel reinforces appeal to reduce contacts as German infections rise


FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday reinforced a message to Germans to curb social contacts and keep travel to a minimum as coronavirus infections continued to rise.

Instead of posting a new instalment of her weekly video podcast, Merkel said last week's message was even more pertinent and urgent.

If Germans reduce contacts "we will all together meet the massive challenge that this virus poses," she said in a statement.

While Germany has not been hit as hard by the virus as most other European nations, daily infections in the country are on the rise and surpassed 10,000 for the first time this week. The total number of deaths exceeded 10,000 on Saturday.

In a bid to quell the rise in infections, Germany has warned against trips to ski regions in Austria, Italy and Switzerland.

On Wednesday, German Health Minister Jens Spahn became the latest prominent politician to test positive for the virus.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Mike Harrison)

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