Merkel: We are still at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic

Merkel: We are still at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday warned her country that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over, urging all residents to continue exercising the "greatest possible endurance and discipline."

“It is precisely because the figures give rise to hope that I feel obliged to say that this interim result is fragile. We are on thin ice, the thinnest ice even,” Merkel told the Bundestag lower house of parliament, Reuters reports.

“We are still far from out of the woods. We are not living in the final phase of the pandemic, but still at the beginning," Merkel continued.

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Germany has the fifth-most number of COVID-19 cases in the world, with more than 150,000 confirmed cases and more than 5,300 deaths.

The country has seen a slight ease in pandemic-related restrictions. Small stores, including bookstores as well as car and bicycle dealers have reopened, though they still must follow strict social distancing guidelines.

Germany's social distancing rules will remain in effect until May 3. At the moment, schools and hairdressers are expected to reopen the next day on May 4, according to the wire service.

Merkel will meet with other German officials on April 30 to further decide the game plan after May 3.