“We have to assume that the second wave will be harder, and it mainly falls at a bad time of year,” she said at the presentation of a report by the German Council of Economic Experts in Berlin on Wednesday.
“It will keep us busy all winter,” she added. The crisis can only be overcome together, she added.
Even the positive news about the vaccine development would not change that – or be reflected this winter, Merkel stressed. Therefore, she urged people in Germany to stick to the coronavirus measures currently in place for the month of November.
According to the latest report from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Wednesday, 18,487 new coronavirus infections were registered nationwide within 24 hours. This is 3,155 more cases than on Tuesday. Compared to Wednesday last week, the figure is slightly higher.
Health Minister Jens Spahn had earlier said there were slight signs of improvement, but not enough to signal a trend.
Merkel also insisted on adhering to the so-called “debt brake” in the German constitution, which sets guidelines for the federal and state governments on how much new debt is allowed. The debt brake is flexible enough in the current crisis, she said. But it “must also remain the guiding principle for future years,” Merkel added, commenting on proposals to abolish the brake.
Meanwhile federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said he hoped Germany would be “in an epidemiologically better situation” around Christmas and the turn of the year.
“And this can only be achieved with discipline,” the Christian Social Union (CSU) politician said. He warned that there should be no easing up on the rules currently.
“Do not underestimate the fact that many people severely ill with Covid-19 have lifelong consequential damage,” he said.