BERLIN, March 24 (Xinhua) — The planned hard COVID-19 lockdown over the Easter holidays in Germany that was only agreed on Tuesday has been canceled, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced after calling a press conference at short notice on Wednesday.
Although a complete shutdown in Germany next week was originally announced with “the best of intentions” in order to slow down and reverse the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the idea was a “mistake,” Merkel said.
According to the chancellor, a complete five-day lockdown over the Easter holidays could not have been properly implemented. Far too many questions — from the continued payment of wages due to lost working hours to the situation in stores and businesses — could not be resolved “in such a short time.”
“This mistake is mine and mine alone,” stressed Merkel. As chancellor, she said she was ready to take the ultimate responsibility. “A mistake has to be named as a mistake, and above all, it must be corrected, and if possible in time.”
Merkel said she regretted that the announcement on Tuesday caused additional uncertainty and apologized to all German citizens. “I am deeply convinced that we will defeat the virus together,” stressed Merkel. “The path is difficult and rocky; it is marked by successes but also by mistakes and setbacks.”
Prior to her public announcement, Merkel unexpectedly invited the minister-presidents of Germany’s federal states to a virtual meeting. On April 12, Merkel and the minister presidents are scheduled to meet again to decide the country’s next steps.