Merkel sees coronavirus lockdown until early April: Bild

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Chancellor Angela Merkel has told lawmakers in her conservative party that she expects a lockdown in Germany to curb the spread of the coronavirus to last until the start of April, top-selling Bild daily cited participants at the meeting as saying.

“If we don’t manage to stop this British virus, then we will have 10 times the number of cases by Easter. We need eight to 10 more weeks of tough measures,” Bild quoted Merkel as saying.

Three participants of the meeting told Reuters that Merkel had not explicitly spoken of an extension of the lockdown until April and that she had not warned of a tenfold increase in infection numbers in Germany.

“Merkel said the coming eight to ten weeks would be very hard if the British variant spreads to Germany,” one of the people said, adding the chancellor had referred to a tenfold surge in infection numbers in Ireland due to the new variant.

Germany had tightened a national lockdown last week and extended it until the end of January amid fears that the more transmissible variant of the virus first discovered in Britain may put additional strain on struggling hospitals.