German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday she expects managing the COVOD-19 pandemic will become more difficult as the year progresses.
Speaking to reporters in Berlin at her annual summer news conference, Merkel said dealing with the coronavirus has dominated her work as chancellor and will continue to do so in the months ahead. She said coping with the pandemic is easier in the summer when people can be outdoors.
She anticipated it would be more difficult when people must be indoors.
"I'm thinking of older people, those who need care and their relatives, families with children in cramped living conditions, students who have lost their part-time jobs, the unemployed — of whom there are now more and for whom it's now harder," Merkel said Friday, noting the plight of the unemployed and small-business owners must be addressed.
The German leader also said there are many unknown aspects of the coronavirus, marking the coming months with uncertainty.
"In such an unprecedented challenge we can only make decisions based on what we know today," she said.
Merkel called for continuing to build on what researchers already know, for example, taking measures such as increasing ventilation to keep fresh air circulating, as the cooler months approach.
The chancellor also expressed regret about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who announced his resignation Friday due to health concerns. She said she had not had a chance to speak with him personally but has always worked well with him. She said Germany-Japan relations have developed very well during his tenure.
She wished him all the best from her heart and thanked him "for his good cooperation."
During the wide-ranging news conference, Merkel also commented on the unstable political situation in Belarus and the need for ongoing communication with Russia, as well as climate change action goals ahead of next year's U.N.-sponsored climate conference in Glasgow.