BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her annual summer press conference on Friday that coping with the coronavirus will become more challenging in the coming autumn and winter months.
"Some things are likely to be more difficult over the next few months than they are in the summer," Merkel said.
"We have all enjoyed the freedoms and relative protection from aerosols in the summer, which is possible through life outdoors," she said, referring to micro-particles that are thought to spread through the air, especially in enclosed spaces.
Merkel's comments came after she agreed a wave of new measures with the leaders of Germany's 16 federal states on Thursday designed to combat rising case numbers in Germany blamed mainly on summer travel and private parties.
The measures include a minimum fine of 50 euros ($59) for anyone caught without a face mask in places where wearing one is compulsory, a ban on large events until the end of the year and new quarantine rules for travellers.
"We will have to live with this virus for a long time to come. It is still serious. Please continue to take it seriously," Merkel warned.
"Not everything will be the same as before the pandemic, it will hit us hard and existentially," she added.
Germany has fared relatively well in its battle to contain the virus so far but like many other European countries has seen a new surge in cases in recent weeks.
On Friday it reported 1,571 new cases, bringing the total to 239,507, according to the Robert Koch disease control institute.
The country has so far recorded 9,288 deaths.