A medical assistant works on Covid-19 screenings in Hanover, Germany, April 1, 2020. - Peter Steffen / AP / SIPA

Germany will extend at least until April 19 its measures to restrict social contact to stem the pandemic of new coronavirus, Angela Merkel announced on Wednesday.

"The contact restrictions are extended at least until April 19, we will make a new assessment on Tuesday after Easter," said the Chancellor after an audio conference with leaders of the 16 regions. The measures consist in particular of the closure of schools, cultural places, restaurants, all non-essential shops, and an obligation to respect a social distance of at least 1.50 meters.

A “longer” than expected recovery

"The number of infections continues to increase very sharply," said the Chancellor. Germany had 67,366 officially declared cases on Wednesday (+5,453 cases in 24 hours) and 732 deaths linked to Covid-19, according to the Robert Koch Institute.

"We have found that the recovery time for severely infected people is longer than we thought, well over two weeks," also said Angela Merkel, herself in home quarantine after contact with a doctor who tested positive. She underwent three tests which turned out to be negative. "We are aware that Easter is a special time, for people with a job, for families ... It will be different this year, a pandemic knows no holidays," she regretted.


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