German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday urged citizens to continue to practice social distancing during Easter to prevent the further spread of coronavirus.

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Merkel expressed “caution optimism” about slowing rate of new COVID-19 infections in Germany, but ruled out discussing a lockdown exit strategy before achieving sustained decline in new infections.

“It is still too early, we are right in the middle of this struggle,” she stressed, and underlined that the government will reassess the situation after Easter, after consulting the country’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute.

The chancellor called

Read more: COVID-19: Germans urged to stay at home during Easter