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German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks in the Bundestag in Berlin on December 16, 2020.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks in the Bundestag in Berlin on December 16, 2020. Rolf Schulten/Bloomberg/Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will discuss extending a nationwide lockdown with the leaders of her country’s 16 states on Tuesday, as the number of Covid-19 infections continue to rise.

The current lockdown, which went into effect in mid-December, is set to expire this Sunday. But the situation in Germany remains “extremely difficult” due to new coronavirus infections, Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

Seibert said it is also hard to obtain an accurate picture of the pandemic at this point in time because it is unknown how potential holiday travel and gatherings may have affected the situation.

The core of Merkel’s discussion with regional leaders will center on the speed of the vaccination process and whether to reopen schools.

The German government has come under pressure from both politicians and scientific experts for not securing enough doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to roll out its vaccination program.

Merkel is set to meet the premiers virtually at 1 p.m. (7 a.m. ET). She will hold a news conference to announce the outcome in the afternoon.

Caseload and vaccinations: Germany has reported at least 1,787,410 Covid-19 cases, killing at least 35,518 people.

At least 11,897 cases and 944 deaths were identified since Monday by the Robert Koch Institute, the German disease control agency

By Monday, 264,952 people — or about 0.3% of the population — had been immunized, according to the institute.

This post has been updated with the rescheduled virtual meeting time.

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