GR US

Merkel Told Germans to Expect a "Difficult Winter”

Αssociated Press

German Chancellor Angela Merkel listens to the debate about her policy as part of Germany s budget 2021 debate at the parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel told Germans to expect a “difficult winter” as the number of newly reported coronavirus cases in the country hit a new high.

Merkel spoke Thursday in Parliament a day after she and the governors of Germany’s 16 states agreed upon far-reaching restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, including the closure of bars and restaurants, limits on social contacts and bans on concerts and other public events.

Germany’s disease control agency said local health authorities reported 16,774 new positive tests for COVID-19 in the past day, pushing the country’s total close to half a million. The Robert Koch Institute also recorded 89 additional deaths, taking the total to 10,272.

Merkel told lawmakers that Germany is in a “dramatic situation” as it goes into winter, which she said would be “four long, difficult months. But it will end.”

The long-time German leader said authorities had no choice but to drastically reduce social contacts as three-quarters of infections can’t be traced be traced anymore.

“If we wait until the ICUs are full, then it will be too late,” she said.