Merkel says coronavirus restrictions sufficient for now

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    Berlin, April 10 (IANS) 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,” reported Xinhua news agency.
    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 said.
    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.
    “If we remain forceful over the weekend, a gradual return to normality becomes more probable,” said Spahn. “If we get careless now, the likelihood increases that an extension of the conditions will be necessary.”
    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.
    Next week would witness “important consultations,” Merkel said. On Wednesday, the German government and the state ministers are scheduled to discuss the next steps in the coronavirus crisis, such as a potential easing or extension of the restrictions.

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