Germany will ban all social gatherings of more than two people to prevent the spread of coronavirus, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday. Families living in the same house will be exempt from the order.

"No-one wished for these restrictions,” Merkel said in an address. "I am convinced they will carry us through these difficult times.” 

The restrictions will last for two weeks. All businesses which fail to keep a 6.5 feet distance between people will also be forced to close.

Following the announcement, Merkel went into quarantine, after discovering that a doctor she met Friday had tested positive for coronavirus.

The German states of Bavaria, Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Hesse have been put on lockdown amid the crisis this weekend, with residents urged to remain at home except for grocery shopping or medical care. Other European nations, such as Spain and Italy, have seen high numbers of cases and overburdened medical systems, with Germany seeking to avert a similar catastrophe.

There are more than 23,974 cases of coronavirus in Germany, with the country’s death toll at 92.