Merkel Warns of Tough Winter Ahead Even With Glimpse of Vaccine

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned of a tough winter ahead as she expects the coronavirus to hit stronger than it did in the spring.

“One must now assume that the second wave is tougher. It will keep us busy all winter, even if we now have positive messages about the development of vaccines,” Merkel said on Wednesday after receiving the latest economic forecasts by a council of experts.

Germany’s Recession Seen Milder as Stimulus Offsets Shutdown

“We must continue to keep precautionary measures in place,” the German leader said without detailing what restrictions she referred to.

For the month of November, bars, restaurants and gyms have been shut down, while public events, non-essential travel and other leisure activities have been banned. The measures are to be reviewed by Merkel and Germany’s state premiers on Monday.

The partial lockdown came after the number of coronavirus cases has risen rapidly in recent weeks. Germany reported 26,547 new infections in the 24 hours through Wednesday, up from 6,522 the previous day according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

News this week that Pfizer Inc. and Germany’s BioNTech SE made significant progress in developing a Covid-19 vaccine triggered hope and fueled financial markets. Yet approval is not guaranteed and questions over its safety and effectiveness for specific age groups remain.

Pfizer and BioNTech will only be able to produce enough vaccines to inoculate about 25 million people worldwide this year -- a fraction of global demand. Production will ramp up quickly in the first quarter of next year, BioNTech has said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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