Germany Merkel says ‘things will remain hard for a very long time’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the end of the coronavirus pandemic is not yet in sight and that we will have to live with the virus “for a long time.”

Speaking to Germany’s Parliament, the Bundestag, on Thursday, Merkel said “we are not living in the final phase of the pandemic, but still at the beginning.”

“We have won time,” Merkel said, according to a Reuters translation, adding that this had been used to bolster Germany’s health-care system.

Germany cautiously started to lift its lockdown restrictions at the start of the week, with smaller retailers of under 800 square meters allowed to reopen on Monday, as long as hygiene and social-distancing measures could be maintained. Larger car dealerships, bike shops and book shops have also been allowed to open their doors.

Merkel’s comments on Thursday reflected much caution in the government, however, and a desire to lift the lockdown slowly. Germany’s economy is expected to contract 7% in 2020, according to the International Monetary’s Fund’s April outlook, before rebounding to expand 5.2% in 2021.

“Things will remain very hard for a long time,” Merkel also told lawmakers Thursday.

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