Merkel says vaccines could arrive before Christmas

Merkel also reiterated that Germany will probably have to stick with measures to dampen the coronavirus pandemic into January.

Merkel agreed with leaders of Germany's 16 federal states late on Wednesday (November 25) to extend and tighten the coronavirus lockdown until Dec. 20, but ease rules over the Christmas holidays to let families and friends celebrate together.

Merkel said the increase in coronavirus cases was still much too high and the number of deaths a reason for concern.

Video Transcript

ANGELA MERKEL: [SPEAKING GERMAN]

INTERPRETER: It is possible that vaccines will arrive before Christmas, and we agreed that these vaccines would be offered to those people who work in medical and nursing professions. I believe this corresponds with the risks these people take.

[APPLAUSE]

Should the number of infections drop dramatically in the coming weeks-- and we will evaluate the situation again before Christmas to possibly draw other conclusions-- people have a right to expectations. And here, we unfortunately have to say we can't promise to soften restrictions for Christmas and New Year's.

This winter will be difficult, but it will end. Especially now that our thoughts are on Christmas and New Year's Eve, I wish for all of us that we are there for one another more than ever. If we take this to heart, we will overcome the crisis. Thank you very much.

[APPLAUSE]