BERLIN, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Fifty-six percent of German citizens would support the immediate easing of the country's COVID-19 measures, while 41 percent would not like to see them relaxed, a Politbarometer survey published by the German public broadcaster ZDF showed on Friday.
Although most Germans still believe that the current COVID-19 measures in Germany are "just right," 23 percent -- nine percentage points more than in late January -- said the measures are "exaggerated."
Only 18 percent favor stricter coronavirus measures in Germany, ten percentage points less than at the end of January, the survey found. However, a broad majority -- 64 percent -- of Germans believe that a third COVID-19 wave is about to hit the country.
Germany remains in a COVID-19 lockdown, which will last until at least March 7. Strict contact restrictions apply and non-essential shops, restaurants and leisure facilities are closed. However, steps have already been made to reopen the country's schools and daycare facilities.
"We need to both wait and see how the current openings affect the incidence of infections and establish some reliability so that people can prepare for what is to come," Chancellor Angela Merkel told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Thursday.
While the COVID-19 numbers are on the rise again in Germany, "we now have two important helpers," stressed Merkel, referring to vaccination and rapid testing.
As of Thursday, more than 1.97 million Germans had received the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the country's vaccination rate to 2.4 percent, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the federal government agency for disease control and prevention.
In addition to COVID-19 rapid tests, which must be conducted by trained medical staff, approval was granted this week for the first three antigen self-testing kits that would be available soon, according to the German government.
Merkel and the leaders of federal states are scheduled to meet on Wednesday to discuss the next steps in the country's COVID-19 response. Enditem