BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed to Germans to obey expansive new restrictions throughout November, holding out the prospect of more freedom in the run-up to Christmas if the second coronavirus wave is pushed back.
“If we stick it out for one month, that can be a barrier in this second wave,” Merkel told a news conference Monday as bars, restaurants and gyms closed across the country to tackle a surge in coronavirus infections and hospital admissions.
“It is up to everyone to make this November a success, a turning point,” she said. “If we succeed, then we can have a bearable December with more freedom.”
Conceding the latest round of restrictions, which include a ban on overnight tourism stays, had prompted “doubt, skepticism and rejection” in some quarters, Merkel said Germans would have to learn to live with the pandemic until at least next March.
But that shouldn’t mean Christmas is off the table if new cases are brought under control, Merkel said. “It will be a Christmas under corona conditions, but it shouldn’t be a lonely Christmas,” she said.
Germany reported a daily increase of 12,097 cases on Monday.
Merkel will review the rules in place during a meeting with the leaders of Germany’s 16 regional states on November 16.
The chancellor said “the light at the end of the tunnel is still a long way off” but the situation is better than when the virus first hit in March.
“In contrast to the spring, we have some bright spots: We have better protective material, we have quicker testing, we have better drugs and we also have positive prospects of vaccines that could be approved in the next few months,” she said.