Germany extends COVID restrictions and announces strict Easter lockdown
Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Tuesday Germany's COVID-19 restrictions are being extended for another month, and the country will endure an "even stricter lockdown" in April to combat spiking cases, per DW.com.
Driving the news: Merkel said the spread of coronavirus variants put Germany in a "very serious situation" as they're "significantly more deadly" and more infectious, so Germany needs an "emergency brake."
- "What we have is essentially a new pandemic," she added, according to Deutsche Welle.
- German Health Minister Jens Spahn said last Friday that COVID-19 cases were spiking at an "exponential rate" in the country and there might not be enough vaccine doses to avoid a third wave.
The big picture: Following a video call with Germany's 16 state governors, Merkel said the current lockdown measures that were due to last until March 28 would be extended to April 18.
- Measures will be tightened further from April 1-5, with public gatherings banned and most stores closed during the Easter holiday period.
- Churches are being urged to hold services online.
By the numbers: Germany has reported over 75,000 deaths from the virus and nearly 2.7 million cases since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins.
- "The weekly infection rate per 100,000 people stood at 107 nationwide on Monday, up from the mid-60s three weeks ago," AP notes.