BERLIN (Reuters) – The light is at the end of the tunnel and “we will beat this virus,” Chancellor Angela Merkel told Germans on Thursday, just one day after she asked the country to forgive her U-turn at a circuit breaker. lockout during Passover.
Merkel’s decision on Wednesday to abandon plans for an extended Easter holiday to try to break a third wave of COVID-19, agreed to two days earlier during talks with the governors of Germany’s 16 states, raised concerns that she had lost control of the crisis.
In a firm 27-minute speech to lawmakers Thursday, he acknowledged how difficult life is for many people, but urged them to think positively, arguing that vaccines offer a way out of the crisis.
“It will take a few more months, but the light at the end of the tunnel is visible. We will defeat this virus! “said the legislators in the lower house of the Bundestag parliament.
“Now it is a question of gathering strength and moving forward positively, although the situation is difficult at the moment. That’s what I want from everyone in this country, ”Merkel said to loud applause.
Germany reported another 22,657 infections on Thursday, while the death toll rose by 228 to 75,440. Deaths have declined since the beginning of the year when vaccines had not started, but admissions to intensive care units are increasing and the seven-day case incidence is now 113 compared to 90 a week ago.
Merkel addressed the Bundestag ahead of a summit of EU leaders later on Thursday, in which she said they would discuss how to make sure more vaccines are made on European soil.
The European Commission has threatened to ban exports to countries like Britain that have higher vaccination rates but do not export vaccines to the EU. The goal is to safeguard supplies for the bloc’s own citizens as they face a third wave of the pandemic.
“British production sites are manufacturing for Britain and the United States is not exporting, so we are dependent on what we can do in Europe,” Merkel said.
“We have to assume that the virus, with its mutations, may be occupying a lot of time in the future, so the question goes well beyond this year,” he added.
Britain and the European Commission said on Wednesday they were discussing how they could work together to create a “win-win” situation with COVID-19 vaccines after the bloc threatened to take tougher measures to curb the export of deliveries of injections.
Ahead of the EU summit, Bavarian state prime minister Markus Soeder backed calls for controls on Europe’s vaccine exports.
“There should be a ban on European vaccine exports to countries that produce vaccines themselves and supply nothing to Europe,” he tweeted.
Reporting by Paul Carrel; Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Catherine Evans