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German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo by John MacDougall/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The German government is banning public gatherings of more than two people to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, stopping just short of confining people to their homes Bloomberg reports.

Driving the news: Chancellor Angela Merkel is in quarantine after coming in contact with a doctor who tested positive for the virus.

Why it matters: Countries across Europe, which has become the epicenter of the pandemic, have imposed stringent social distancing measures in an effort to stop the coronavirus from spreading as it has in Italy, where more than 4,800 people have died. Merkel has thus far opposed a full lockdown.

  • Families and people who live together will be exempt from the rule, which will be enforced by German police. The agreement was struck after a meeting between Merkel, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the leaders of the 16 German states. 
  • The virus has infected almost 24,000 people in Germany and has claimed at least 92 lives, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The big picture: Like other countries around the world, Germany is adopting policies to abate the economic damage caused by the outbreak.

  • The government is on track to adopt fiscal measures worth up to €500 billion ($538 billion) to support its economy, which is Europe's largest, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Strict measures on public gatherings could exacerbate the economic damage caused by the virus but are necessary to prevent new infections.

Go deeper

Pelosi calls raising the debt ceiling a bipartisan responsibility

Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a "dear colleague" statement Sunday evening, calling on Congress to act in a bipartisan manner to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

Why it matters: Congress is fast approaching an October deadline to raise the nation's debt ceiling and avoid a government shutdown. But the issue has become a thorny partisan stand-off.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Beto not even best Dem against Abbott

Beto O'Rourke speaks at a rally at the Texas State Capitol in June. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Actor Matthew McConaughey’s nine-point lead in a theoretical matchup against Greg Abbott shows just how vulnerable the hard-right Texas governor could be in a general election.

Why it matters: Abbott has won conservative accolades for his abortion, mask and vaccine bans. Axios reported Sunday that former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to announce a gubernatorial challenge — but a recent poll shows he’s not even the most popular Democrat in the state.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Delayed maps upend midterm campaigns

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Midterm candidates are panicking about how the congressional maps will ultimately be drawn, with several strategists telling Axios campaigns are in limbo.

Why it matters: Candidates are unsure if the district they're targeting will remain intact or be reshaped by the process. The uncertainty is especially vexing to Democrats, who are vying to maintain their narrow margin in the House.