Germans need to show patience and discipline to get through the crisis caused by the new coronavirus epidemic, which is “just beginning”, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Thursday.
The first measures to relax the isolation, implemented since the beginning of the week in the Länder, lead Merkel to fear that the population would lower its guard and neglect the measures of social distancing.
Germany is the fifth country in the world with the most COVID-19 contaminations, after the United States, Spain, Italy, and France, but has managed to limit the number of deaths through an aggressive screening campaign.
According to the Robert Koch Institute of Infectious Diseases, 148,046 confirmed cases of contamination with the new coronavirus were registered in Germany on Thursday – 2,352 more than the day before.
“Precisely because the numbers give us the right to hope, I feel compelled to say that these results are fragile. We are on a line, “Angela Merkel told the Bundestag.
“We are not in the final phase of the pandemic, but still at the beginning,” she said.
“We have gained time,” to strengthen the capacity of the health system, which is fighting the epidemic, the chancellor continued.
The gradual lifting of the provisions on isolation also provides for the maintenance of social distance measures – until May 3 -, one day before the opening of schools and hairdressing salons.
The Chancellor and the leaders of the 16 states meet on April 30 to discuss the post-May 3 periods.
“If we show great resilience and discipline from the beginning of the pandemic, we will be able to return to the public, economic, and social life we have had faster and more sustainably,” she said.
Evoking the European file and economic recovery, the chancellor reiterated his opposition to a common debt.
“It would be a very complicated, expensive process and would not help anyone in the current situation, because we need tools to react quickly against the crisis,” she said, urging European leaders to discuss Thursday. by videoconference about the development of an economic support plan – for the next two years.
“Our meetings today will not be devoted to details (…), but we must know one thing: in a spirit of solidarity, we must be prepared, for a defined period, to contribute more to the European budget.” stressed the chancellor in the lower house of parliament.
European heads of state and government are due to discuss the joint financial response to the new coronavirus pandemic on Thursday and call on the European Commission (EC) to propose sufficiently large recovery funds to help the most affected sectors and regions.