Germans should prepare themselves for up to five months more of severe restrictions to curb the rise in coronavirus infections and should not expect the current rules to be eased quickly, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier has told Bild am Sonntag.
He warned that Germany should be wary of relaxing restrictions too quickly. “We’re not out of the woods yet. We cannot afford a yo-yo shutdown with the economy constantly opening and closing.”
He told the weekly that all countries that lifted their restrictions too early have so far paid a high price in terms of lives lost.
The “lockdown light” is a response to the second wave of the pandemic raging around Europe. Restaurants are closed but schools and shops remain open.
On Sunday the number of confirmed cases in Germany rose by nearly 17,000 to almost 800,000.
“If we don’t want days with 50,000 new infections, as was the case in France a few weeks ago, we must not constantly speculate about which measures can be relaxed again,” Altmaier said.
The German chairman of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, warned of possible shortages of beds and staff in German hospitals. “My forecast is that we will have to talk about further restrictions rather than any easing”, he told Augsburger Allgemeine.
Reuters reports that German police fired water cannon during an anti-lockdown rally in Frankfurt on Saturday and eventually broke up the gathering as mask wearing and social distancing rules were not being obeyed.