“It is not at all time to say that everything is fine,” Merkel said, after the number of deaths caused by the virus reached a new daily record, according to Reuters.

Merkel explained, however, that the restrictions will be relaxed to some extent at the end of December to allow the Germans to spend the holidays with friends and family. From December 1, private gatherings will be limited to five people, but during Christmas the number will be raised to 10 people, not including children.

Merkel emphasized her recommendation to the Germans in these conditions: to avoid social interactions as much as possible in the week before Christmas visits.

The number of confirmed cases in Germany on Wednesday was 18,633, 5.015 less than the record set on Friday. Germany has thus reached 961,320 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection since the beginning of the pandemic.

The number of deaths is also worrying. No fewer than 410 people have died in the last 24 hours in Germany as a result of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection, an absolute record. On November 2, when the partial lockdown took effect, Germany recorded only 49 deaths.

“Exponential growth in the number of infections has stopped, the infection curve has flattened, but we cannot be satisfied with this partial success,” Merkel said.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Berlin said that a quarter of the intensive care beds in the German capital are occupied by COVID-9 patients, most of them in serious condition.

Merkel did not give up her decision to keep schools open, but added that additional measures could be taken for older students in those regions where the number of infections is high.