Germany on Thursday extended lockdown measures from February 14 to March 7 in a bid to prevent a third wave in the country and the new Coronavirus variants from gaining the “upper hand”.
The decision followed a meeting between the German Chancellor and the country’s 16 states, during which, Merkel defended the extension, despite COVID-19 cases declining in the country.
“We have to be extremely cautious that we don’t get into this exponential growth spiral again,” Merkel told lawmakers in Bundestag.
Yet, schools and hairdressers could reopen prior to that date, provided they follow strict hygiene regulations. Merkel also defended the use of infection rates to decide any easing of measures.
“I really support the fact that when it comes to further openings and reopenings we’ve decided on the basis of these new mutations, not to give dates, but to give infection rates,” the German Chancellor said.
Germany’s second lockdown began in November, however, it was toughened before Christmas over fears that a spike in cases would stretch hospitals.
Another meeting between the Chancellor and the state premiers is scheduled for March 3.