Angela Merkel defended "tough" new coronavirus restrictions in a video address on Saturday, urging German citizens to "do what is necessary again" to slow the COVID-19 pandemic.
Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, passed the new "emergency brake" measures earlier this week which now take effect in areas where the incidence rate is higher than 100 new infections per 100,000 people.
Those regions will be subject to tougher restrictions including a 10pm curfew and restrictions on shops and households meeting.
"This is something new in our fight against the pandemic and I am convinced that it is urgently needed because we are in the middle of the third wave," Merkel said.
Citing high infection numbers and intensive care admissions, Merkel added that doctors and nurses have been calling for help.
"These people push their limits every day to save the lives of corona patients," Merkel said, adding that they "cannot do it alone".
Germany recorded 23,000 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, according to the most recent figures from the Robert Koch Institut and according to the April 22 situation report, more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised in intensive care.
Defending the emergency brake measures, Merkel said that the government had weighed whether such tough efforts were necessary.
"As much as one would wish there were less burdensome ways to break and reverse the third wave - they don't exist," she concluded, explaining that infections were too high for testing and tracing to be a sufficient means to drive down case numbers.
Merkel said that if they are able to reduce infections now, it will be possible to relax the tough measures in the "foreseeable future".
She said that the vaccination campaign was "gaining momentum". So far, just over 20% of the population has received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.