In line with the federal minister, a partial lockdown might final till spring 2021

© Reuters. Press conference on the government's autumn economic projection in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany's partial lockdown measures could be extended until spring if infections are not brought under control, said Economics Minister Peter Altmaier in a newspaper interview published on Saturday.

Altmaier told the world that it was not possible to give the all-clear, while in large parts of Germany more than 50 infections per 100,000 inhabitants occurred.

"We have three to four long winter months ahead of us," he was quoted as saying. "It is possible that the restrictions will remain in place for the first few months of 2021."

Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on Wednesday with the heads of state and government of the 16 federal states to extend and tighten the measures against the coronavirus until at least December 20.

Germany introduced a "Lockdown Light" in early November that closed bars and restaurants but left schools and shops open. The measures stopped the exponential growth in cases, but the infections have stabilized at high levels.

There were 21,695 new confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for Infectious Diseases showed on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases since the pandemic started to 1,028,089.

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