German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday the coronavirus pandemic was likely to worsen in coming months, and that life would not return to normal until a vaccine to combat it had been developed.
Even though Germany would not fully repay debt incurred due to relief measures to offset the virus's economic impact until 2058, such stimulus was essential as the economy could not be allowed to grind to a halt in the meantime, she said.
In response to the pandemic, her government would also work in a spirit of social cohesion, she said, urging citizens not to drop their guard against the virus.
"This is a serious matter, as serious as it's ever been, and you need to carry on taking it seriously," she told a news conference.
Meanwhile, the European Commission was working on signing further contracts with drug companies to secure Covid-19 vaccines, she said.
With none of the many vaccines under development around the world having yet passed through phase III trials, the European Commission has made a 336 million euro ($400 million) downpayment to British drug maker AstraZeneca to secure at least 300 million doses of its potential Covid-19 drug.
"Further such contracts are in the works," Merkel said.
Germany has managed to keep Covid-19 cases and deaths relatively low compared with some other large European countries.
But, in common with the trend across much of the world, the country's number of new daily infections has been rising since early July and has accelerated in recent weeks.
Social cohesion was a key factor in combating the threat, with the virus hitting some groups, such as elderly or low-income families, harder than others, she said.
Her administration would also be "doing everything so that our children are not the losers of the pandemic. School and daycare need to be the most important things."
Merkel met with the leaders of Germany's states on Thursday to agree common standards in how to stem the spread of the virus.
They agreed on the need to keep schools open and a decision to ban major events such as sports matches and concerts until at least the end of the year.
They also agreed to introduce stricter quarantine rules for travellers returning from countries on Germany's high-risk list - most outside of Europe some regions within the European Union such as Paris and most of Spain.
The move was motivated by concern over the fact that many new cases or coronavirus have been linked to infections brought back from summer holiday travel.
Merkel on Thursday urged Germans not to travel to areas where the risk of infection was high.
"Not everything will be the way it was before the coronavirus," Merkel said, adding that nobody could foresee how the situation would develop in the winter, when a lot of outdoor activity moved indoors.
"We only know a little bit about the virus and about its characteristics," she said. "Whenever we know something new we will need to take new measures. It's going to be an ongoing process."