Cyprus Mail

Merkel thanks compliant Germans, shutdown to continue until at least April 20

German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Germans have been largely compliant with rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, as confirmed cases in the country continued to rise and her chief of staff said the shutdown would not be eased before April 20.

“When I see today how almost everyone has completely changed their behaviour, how the vast majority of you really do avoid any unnecessary contact, precisely because it can also contain a risk of infection, then I would simply like to say: thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Merkel said in her weekly podcast.

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Germany has risen to 48,582 – an increase of 6,294 on the previous day – and 325 people have died of the disease, statistics from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Saturday.

Germany has closed schools, shops, restaurants, playgrounds and sports facilities and many companies have stopped production to help slow the spread of the disease.

Measures will not be relaxed before at least April 20, Merkel’s chief of staff, Helge Braun, told Tagesspiegel’s online edition on Saturday, countering increasing criticism that the shutdown is crippling the economy.

Merkel said in her podcast that it was unclear how long the difficult times would last.

“I must ask you to be patient. Unfortunately, the daily numbers of new infections still give us no reason to relax the rules”, she said, adding that she was still in quarantine at home.

The number of new infections currently doubled roughly every 5.5 days, she said. While the number of cases doubled every 2 days at the beginning of the pandemic, a rate of roughly 10 days is needed to make sure the health system is not overburdened, she added.

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