Too soon to end German lockdown, says Bavarian leader Soeder

FILE PHOTO: A girl checks her mobile phone as she stands in front of an empty Apple store during an extended lockdown as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Frankfurt, Germany, January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

BERLIN (Reuters) – It is too soon for Germany to lift its lockdown without risking a third wave of COVID-19 infections, Bavarian premier Markus Soeder said on Sunday, ahead of a crunch meeting to review the restrictions aimed at stemming the pandemic.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states are due to meet virtually on Wednesday to discuss whether to ease the restrictions from Feb. 15, or extend a lockdown that began in mid-December.

“I think, basically, the lockdown will have to be extended for the time being,” Soeder told broadcaster ARD.

“There is no point in just breaking it off now. Imagine: we open everything in one fell swoop, then within two, three weeks we will be in a situation maybe even worse than before,” he said. “If we make a mistake now, we will have a third wave.”

Wednesday’s meeting would nonetheless have to produce a vision for a way out of lockdown, but how to do so would have to be discussed, Soeder said. Once a role model for fighting the pandemic, Germany is still struggling with a second wave.

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