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A broad lifting of anti-pandemic measures in Germany early next year is unlikely, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, Helge Braun, said.

Germany goes into full lockdown on Wednesday to tackle high infection rates.

Braun told broadcaster n-tv he was very optimistic that the stricter measures would help to bring new infection numbers down.

However, during winter and as long as not enough vaccines are available for everyone, “we are going to have some difficult days ahead,” he said. “A comprehensive easing is very, very unlikely.

It came was German Economy Minister, Peter Altmaier, said that he hoped the lockdown it is likely the country can avoid another recession despite the stricter measures.

“I hope we can prevent a complete economic standstill in the second wave of the pandemic,” he told public radio Deutschlandfunk.

Germany is set to enter the strict lockdown due to the “exponential growth” in coronavirus cases, with restrictions on private gatherings and the closure of shops and schools.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made the announcement in Berlin on Sunday after a consultation with state leaders, saying “we are forced to act and we are acting now”.

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