Helge Braun, the chief of staff of Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday said that the country is unlikely to lift its coronavirus lockdown early next year.
“A comprehensive easing is very, very unlikely. January and February are always difficult months in terms of respiratory tract infections”, Braun told the media.
The comments come after Merkel and the state leaders agreed to shut most stores from Wednesday until January 10. Germany introduced a partial shutdown started on November 2, but the infection rate in the country has remained stubbornly high.
Under the stricter rules, only essential shops such as supermarkets and pharmacies, as well as banks, are to remain open from December 16. Hair salons, beauty salons, and tattoo parlours will also have to shut.
Unlike Britain and the United States, Germany does not have approval for a vaccine against COVID-19 yet. As a member of the European Union, it must await the green light by the European Medicines Agency for the jab developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.