“We assessed the situation today and confirmed that the restrictions…will be valid up to and including April 19th. We will reassess the situation on the Tuesday after Easter,” Merkel said in a telephone conference following a video meeting with regional state premiers.
German authorities on March 22nd ordered restaurants shut and banned gatherings of more than two people to slow the spread of COVID-19.
READ ALSO: Germany bans gatherings of more than two to control coronavirus spread
The restrictions were initially slated to last two weeks, but will now be extended until April 19, to coincide with the end of the Easter school holidays.
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Merkel noted that the lengthened period of curbs means families may not be able to visit each other during Easter celebrations in Germany.
But she warned that a “pandemic does not recognise holidays”.
The government has repeatedly rejected calls to relax the measures in recent days, with Merkel calling on the public to “be patient” in a podcast last weekend.
Chancellor Angela Merkel announcing the restrictions on March 22nd. Photo: DPA
On Wednesday, the Chancellor reiterated that it was “much too early to think about loosening the restrictions”.
“It would be much worse to do it too early, and we are still very far away from what we need to achieve,” she said.
She pointed out that the number of infections was still rising sharply in Germany, and said that any reassessment of the measures would be based on the advice of the Robert Koch Institute for public health (RKI), which is leading the country's fight against the virus.
Merkel said that the contact restrictions were being observed well. On the Tuesday after Easter, or April 14th, the federal and state governments would reassess the situation based, among other things, on data from the RKI.
Chancellor in self-isolation
Merkel is currently working from home, like millions of other Germans, after coming into contact with a doctor who was diagnosed with COVID-19.
While in isolation, Merkel has held government meetings via video link.
On Saturday she released an audio message thanking Germans for heeding the country's unprecedented confinement measures and avoiding unnecessary social contacts.