German officials have warned that the coronavirus crisis is not over yet, despite efforts to increasingly open up the economy and public life as the number of new infections trends downward.
“We are not living after the pandemic now — rather we are living in the middle of a pandemic, one that will be with us for a while — at least for this year and that’s being very optimistic,” Helge Braun, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, told Deutschlandfunk radio, according to a Reuters report.
Germany has recorded 168,162 cases of the virus, and 7,275 deaths, far fewer fatalities than other Western European countries including France, Italy, Spain and the U.K.
Lars Schaade, vice president of the Robert Koch Institute, warned that it’s possible that the country could see a second wave of infections as restrictions are lifted and “when human behavior becomes relaxed again so that there is a higher number of transmissions.”
Germany started to lift restrictions several weeks ago, allowing smaller shops to reopen. Schools reopened earlier this week. Merkel has launched an “emergency brake” mechanism allowing for renewed restrictions in case infections pick up again. —Holly Ellyatt
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