Berlin [Germany], February 11 (ANI/Xinhua): In an address to the German Bundestag (parliament) on Thursday, Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that her government was "too hesitant" in its handling of the second COVID-19 wave.
"We didn't shut down public life early enough or systematically enough amid signs of a second wave and warnings from various scientists," she said.
After easing of the COVID-19 situation in Germany last summer, the number of infections rose again in the autumn when the second wave hit the country. "Then we were not careful enough and not fast enough," Merkel acknowledged.
The number of new COVID-19 infections remained below the previous week's level with 10,237 new infections reported on Thursday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said. To date, more than 2.31 million infections have been officially registered in Germany since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The number of new infections reported within seven days per 100,000 inhabitants continued to fall and reached 64 nationwide on Thursday, according to the RKI. The peak was reached just before Christmas at almost 200.
"We have come a very long way down such a difficult path in this year of the pandemic," stressed Merkel. Although the necessary trend reversal was achieved, the "vast majority of the measures adopted must be consistently maintained."
On Wednesday, Merkel and leaders of the federal states decided to extend the lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic for another three weeks, until at least March 7.
Because of the danger posed by the new mutations of the virus, the relaxation of the current restrictive measures, such as the reopening of retail services, would only happen when the seven-day incidence rate is stable at 35, according to the government. Previously, the benchmark figure was 50. (ANI/Xinhua)