"Various variants may appear and we need to expect this as long as the rest of the world is not vaccinated," Merkel told the parliament when asked when COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted.
Merkel said the epidemic situation in Germany "promises a good summer" after the number of infections per 100,000 people in seven days had fallen nationwide to single digits.
"The epidemic situation is encouraging and allows for reopening. It is proportionate. But I stress that we must proceed with caution… Even though the third wave was broken decisively, the pandemic is not over. We’re still on thin ice," she warned.
Merkel said that nationwide vaccination remained key to defeating the virus amid a rise in cases linked to the more transmissible Delta variant. She said everyone would likely have a chance to receive a vaccine shot by 21 September.