Angela Merkel has warned Germany will see ten times as many Covid cases by Easter if they ‘don’t manage to stop this British virus’.
The Chancellor told lawmakers in her conservative party that she expects the latest lockdown to last until April to stop the spread of a more-infectious mutant strain that first emerged in the UK and has since spread to mainland Europe.
President Donald Trump has been branded ‘racist’ over his use of the terms China Virus and even Kung Flu to describe coronavirus – which is believed to have originated in Wuhan.
It comes as coffins are being piled up in offices and corridors in the Saxon town of Meissen where a crematorium manager says they are cremating 60 bodies a day.
The state of Saxony, where Meissen is located, includes six of the 10 worst-hit counties in Germany.
Angela Merkel has warned Germany will see ten times as many Covid cases by Easter if they ‘don’t manage to stop this British virus’
But Merkel did not hold back in calling out Britain as she discussed her latest measures in a meeting on Wednesday.
She said: ‘If we don’t manage to stop this British virus, then we will have 10 times the number of cases by Easter. We need eight to 10 more weeks of tough measures,’ Bild quoted Merkel as saying.
Three participants of the meeting told Reuters that Merkel had not explicitly spoken of an extension of the lockdown to April and that she had not warned of a tenfold increase in infection numbers in Germany.
‘Merkel said the coming eight to ten weeks would be very hard if the British variant spreads to Germany,’ one of the people said, adding the chancellor had referred to a tenfold surge in infection numbers in Ireland due to the new variant.
Responding to her comments, one Tory MP told MailOnline: ‘It is not helpful. The reason she can call it that is because we have such a good way of tracking the variants – far better than other countries.
‘It doesn’t mean it even necessarily started here, it is just we are better at detecting them.
‘It is a clumsy way for the German Chancellor to describe it. To call this variant the ‘British virus’, it is extremely unhelpful.
‘I think she would in hindsight want to change her wording.’
President Donald Trump has been questioned over his use of the terms China Virus and even Kung Flu to describe the pandemic
Meanwhile fellow Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen said: ‘We identified the variant because we have the best genome sequencing labs in the world.
‘The EU have just agreed a trade deal with the Chinese and don’t want to upset them.
‘This is pathetic, given that the Covid virus almost certainly came out of the lab in Wuhan and China won’t allow an independent investigation into how the pandemic started.’
Mr Bridgen added: ‘I wonder if when they are administering the Oxford vaccine to EU citizens, will they call it the British vaccine?’
Germany was initially praised for having one of the best virus responses in the world, but has seen cases and deaths soar since lockdowns were relaxed.
The soaring numbers forced Merkel to announce a tightening of measures ahead of Christmas, and she today warned that measures may have to get tighter still.
Germany had tightened a national lockdown last week and extended it until the end of January amid fears that the more transmissible variant of the virus first discovered in Britain may put additional strain on struggling hospitals.
On Tuesday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases reported 12,802 new coronavirus cases.
The Covid-19 death toll rose by 891 according to the RKI, bringing the overall total of deaths to 41,577.
Europe’s largest economy aims to be able to limit the spread of the virus until enough of its population has been vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
But so far, only 688,782 people have received the vaccine in Germany, less than one per cent of its population.
The premier of the southern state of Bavaria, Markus Soeder, called for a discussion on introducing obligatory vaccinations for nursing home staff as many of those working in homes did not plan to get jabs against COVID-19.
Coffins stored in hallways of crematorium in Meissen, Germany, after surge in Covid deaths
The crematorium would typically have 70 to 100 caskets on site at this time of year but now has 300 bodies waiting to be cremated and more brought in to the crematorium every day
Caskets labelled with the word ‘Covid’ are stacked with others in the memorial hall in Meissen
It comes as a surge in the number of coronavirus deaths in eastern Germany has seen caskets stacked three high in the Meissen crematorium’s memorial hall.
Many of the coffins, which are piled up in empty offices and stored in hallways, are sealed with plastic wrapping, others are labelled ‘infection risk,’ ‘urgent’ or simply ‘COVID.’
Crematorium manager Joerg Schaldach said: ‘The situation is a little bit tense for us at the moment.
Joerg Schaldach, manager of the Meissen crematorium