Hundreds protest virus lockdown in Germany

·2-min read

Hundreds of people have turned out in major cities in Germany to protest against restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Nearly 600 protesters gathered for a "silent march" rally in Berlin, police said, while people in Hamburg and Dresden rallied in motorcades under the Querdenken group's banner.

The group, whose name translates to "lateral thinking", has attracted a wide array of people from seemingly unrelated areas of the political spectrum.

They argue that the government's coronavirus restrictions encroach on citizens' rights.

Counter-demonstrators also turned out in force. A police spokesperson said the events remained peaceful until the afternoon.

Along the route in Berlin, locals stood on balconies, shouting and whistling in opposition to the march.

Some counter-demonstrators shouted "Nazis out" while others banged pots with spoons.

Some 220 cars took part in a convoy in Hamburg to oppose virus measures while 482 vehicles took part in Dresden, police said.

The vehicles bore slogans such as "breathe freely - think freely" and "basic rights not vaccination rights".

In other coronavirus developments around the world, a 16-year-old with no known underlying health conditions is among the latest reported deaths in England on Saturday.

It comes a day after figures showed a 13-year-old without known underlying conditions had died after testing positive for coronavirus.

Also in England, nursing home residents will soon be allowed to have a single family member or friend visit them indoors, in a small step out of the nation's lockdown.

Residents and their visitors will be able to hold hands, but not hug, the UK government said of the changes that will take effect on March 8.

Meanwhile, Denmark has temporarily closed some border crossing points with Germany and stepped up checks at others due to a spike in COVID-19 cases and a rise in virus variants in the northern German town of Flensburg.

And in Mexico, some 200,000 doses of China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine arrived on Saturday from Hong Kong, the country's foreign minister said.

Mexico is now using vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Sinovac, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard wrote on Twitter.

He said an additional 10 million doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in the next few weeks.