The further tightening of restrictions on daily life in Germany is not necessary at present, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday after a cabinet meeting dedicated to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
“The curve is flattening out,” said Merkel at the Chancellery. The latest COVID-19 infection figures in Germany gave “reason for cautious hope,” according to the media report.
Merkel stressed that it would be necessary to be “very, very careful” with relaxing the current restrictions. The ultimate goal is not to overburden the healthcare system in Germany, she said.
German citizens have repeatedly been urged to obey the contact restrictions over the upcoming Easter holidays. The situation is still “fragile” and “we are not allowed to be careless now,” she added.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn also stressed that the Easter holidays in Germany would be a “fork in the road” in the fight against the coronavirus.
Spahn said that the “restrictions in everyday life,” such as the closure of kindergartens and schools, were slowing down the spread of the disease. Of the almost 110,000 confirmed infections in Germany, more than 50,000 people have already recovered.
Despite some issues, the German healthcare system has a “strong foundation,” Spahn said. Currently, about 3,000 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care in German hospitals, but more than 10,000 intensive care beds are still vacant.
Earlier, Germany has approved a massive and unprecedented financial aid package of 156 billion euro ($166.5 bn), the largest in the country since the Second World War, to offset the socio-economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Gatherings of more than two people will be banned in Germany, Merkel said on Sunday, as Europe’s biggest economy toughened restrictions to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Merkel appealed to citizens’ “reason and empathy” in implementing the contact restrictions, saying she had been “very moved” by how closely people had stuck to less stringent measures implemented in recent days.
The global toll due to COVID-19 is crossed 95,000, as the number of infections rose above 1.6 million on Friday.
Italy has lost the most number of people to the virus at 18,279, followed by Spain 15,447 and France 12,210. The US has the highest number of confirmed cases at 462,135, followed by Spain 153,222 and Italy 143,626, according to John Hopkins.