Merkel sees difficult season ahead

BERLIN (AFP) – Coping with the coronavirus will become more challenging in the coming autumn and winter months, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her annual summer press conference yesterday.

“Some things are likely to be more difficult over the next few months than they are in the summer,” Merkel said.

“We have all enjoyed the freedoms and relative protection from aerosols in the summer, which is possible through life outdoors,” she said, referring to micro-particles that are thought to spread through the air, especially in enclosed spaces.

Merkel’s comments came after she agreed a wave of new measures with the leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states on Thursday designed to combat rising case numbers in Germany blamed mainly on summer travel and private parties.

The measures include a minimum fine of EUR50 (USD59) for anyone caught without a face mask in places where wearing one is compulsory, a ban on large events until the end of the year and new quarantine rules for travellers.

“We will have to live with this virus for a long time to come. It is still serious. Please continue to take it seriously,” Merkel warned.

“Not everything will be the same as before the pandemic, it will hit us hard and existentially,” she added.