Germany economy nightmare: Expert issues warning amid Merkel lockdown chaos

Germany lockdown: Public react to prospect of tighter restrictions

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The GfK research institute said its consumer sentiment index, based on around 2,000 Germans, increased to -6.2 points in April from -12.7 in March. But the survey took place from March 3-15 when Covid restrictions were being eased.

Germany is now seeing a surge in cases and Chancellor Angela Merkel this week announced the lockdown would be extended until April 18.

GfK researcher Rolf Buerkl said: “The hard lockdown will severely damage consumer confidence and the current improvement will remain a flash in the pan.

“A sustained recovery in consumer confidence will continue to be a long time coming – which means difficult times ahead for retailers and manufacturers.”

Mrs Merkel on Tuesday announced an extension to Germany’s lockdown along with a strict Easter shutdown in a bid to get a grip on a third wave of coronavirus sweeping the country.

But she was forced to U-turn on her plans for tougher restrictions for five days over Easter following a major backlash.

Mrs Merkel said on Wednesday: “The idea of the so-called Easter rest was a mistake, there were good reasons for it, but was not possible to implement it well enough in such a short time, if it will ever be implementable in a way that effort and benefits are in a reasonable balance.

“And I want to be clear about something else: this mistake is solely my mistake.

“Because in the end I am responsible for everything qua office.

“Therefore also for the decision on Monday about the so-called Easter rest.

“A mistake has to be called a mistake and above all it has to be corrected, and if possible this has to be done in time.

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“At the same time I know that this whole process will cause additional uncertainty.

“I deeply regret this and for this I ask for forgiveness from all citizens.

“I regret this additional uncertainty even more so because we are, and unfortunately that is still true, in the third wave of the pandemic caused by the mutations.”

Under the Easter plans, restrictions were set to be tightened between April 1-5 with Germans asked to stay at home and all shops closed.

It comes as the number of new cases in Germany jumped by 22,657 on Thursday.

The increase is the biggest rise since January 9.

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