Germany extends shutdown to April 20

Germany extends shutdown to April 20
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Germany is extending its shutdown of schools, restaurants, bars, movie theaters and other leisure activities until at least April 20, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office said Saturday.

"We will not discuss any relaxing [of restrictions] until April 20, and until then, all measures will remain in place," Merkel's chief of staff, Helge Braun, told the newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.

"If we manage to slow the rate of infection so that it takes ten, twelve or more days for cases to double, then we know we're on the right track," the aide added.

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Merkel on Saturday thanked German citizens for largely abiding by the shutdown.

“When I see today how almost everyone has completely changed their behavior, how the vast majority of you really do avoid any unnecessary contact, precisely because it can also contain a risk of infection, then I would simply like to say: thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Merkel said in her weekly podcast, according to Reuters.

Merkel said she was uncertain how long tough times would last.

The restrictions in Germany were initially put in place in mid-March, as the country tried to stem the spread of COVID-19. Germany has more than 53,000 confirmed cases of the virus and nearly 400 deaths.

The U.S. has almost two times as many cases as Germany has, with more than 104,800 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.