Germany's Merkel kept awake at night by coronavirus decisions

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that she wakes up at night thinking about the life-and-death decisions she faces in trying to get to grips with the coronavirus pandemic.

Merkel, a scientist known for her no-nonsense approach, has come under pressure in the last few weeks over a slow vaccination rollout in Germany and the European Union compared with countries such as Britain, the United States and Israel.

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In an unusually personal television interview, Merkel said she knew many people who feared for their livelihood due to the pandemic and that such stories stayed with her.

"I do wake up sometimes at night and think about things. It's a difficult time for me. I want to have thought things through a lot before I make decisions," Merkel told RTL/n-tv.

Facing fierce criticism from some German media, especially top-selling daily Bild, Merkel had earlier spoken to a group of Germans about the crisis and effects of the lockdown, including some distraught parents who were struggling to cope.

Yet Merkel, who won praise for her handling of the first wave of the crisis, warned that although the situation was moving in the right direction, patience was still needed.

"I see some light at the end of the tunnel ... But we must be very, very careful to ensure so many people don't die on the last stretch," she said, adding it was too soon to say how long Germany's strict lockdown would be needed.

"I would love to impart some good news," she said. "But there is no point in awakening false hope so I always try to be realistic," she said.

Germany has registered more than 2.2 million cases and nearly 60,000 deaths related to the virus.

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