Merkel says pandemic to worsen in coming months

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Friday that the coronavirus pandemic would worsen in coming months, and that life would not return to normal until a vaccine against it had been developed.
Western Europe’s longest serving leader also called on the world to accelerate the fight against global warming, and for Germany and Europe to maintain dialogue with other major powers through difficult times while beating the drum for democracy.
But as Merkel makes preparations to step down before the next national election in October 2021, she made clear that she expects the pandemic to define her last year in office.
Urging citizens not to drop their guard against the virus as Germany’s daily infection rate rises, she told a news conference: “This is a serious matter, as serious as it’s ever been, and you need to carry on taking it seriously.”
Even though Germany would not fully repay debt incurred to fund relief measures offsetting the impact of COVID-19 until 2058, such stimulus was essential as the economy could not be allowed to grind to a halt, she said. — Reuters