Angela Merkel, who is in quarantine, despite testing negative after being treated by a doctor who later contracted the virus, said she could not prevent new infections across Germany at this stage.
“We cannot completely prevent infections at this stage, but we can and must in the immediate future achieve fewer new infections per day, a slower spread,” the Chancellor said in her weekly podcast.
“That will decide whether our health system can stand up to the virus.”
She thanked the German people “from the bottom of my heart” for obeying the lockdown which will be in place until at least April 20.
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Germany has risen to 48,582 – an increase of 6294 on the previous day – and 325 people have died of the disease, according to the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.
But the news is not all bad. At the start of the outbreak, cases in Germany were doubling at a rate of every two days. Now cases are doubling at a rate of every five and a half days, closer to the target of ten days that is needed to ensure the health system can cope.
Germany’s death rate is also well below that of Italy, France, Spain and the UK’s.