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Merkel’s aide says pandemic ‘to last at least for rest of year’

Merkel’s aide says pandemic ‘to last at least for rest of year’

The coronavirus pandemic will last for at least the rest of this year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff said on Thursday.

“We are not living after the pandemic now – rather we are living in the middle of a pandemic, one that will be with us for a while – at least for this year and that’s being very optimistic,” Helge Braun told Deutschlandfunk radio.

Merkel announced steps on Wednesday to ease the coronavirus lockdown in Germany. At the same time, she launched an “emergency brake” mechanism allowing for renewed restrictions in case infections pick up again.

A senior German health official warned on Thursday there could be a second coronavirus wave before autumn, depending on people’s behavior. Case numbers are falling but this is not an all-clear signal, Reuters quoted Lars Schaade, vice president of the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases, as saying.

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