German Chancellor Angela Merkel has cancelled plans for a strict lockdown over Easter, just a day after the measures were announced.
Calling the plan a “mistake”, Mrs Merkel said she took “ultimate responsibility” for the U-turn.
The proposed lockdown was agreed with regional leaders in talks overnight on Monday, with restrictions set to be tightened between 1-5 April.
But the plan was reversed following a crisis meeting on Wednesday.
It had been widely criticised by business leaders and scientists.
The lockdown would have been Germany’s strictest yet, with most shops closed and gatherings limited.
For five days over Easter from 1 April, Germans would have been asked to stay at home and reduce social contact.
In-person religious services would have been cancelled, large family gatherings banned and almost all shops would have been closed.
The head of Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, Armin Laschet, told a regional parliament meeting on Wednesday that the lockdown was “not enforceable in this form”.
“This mistake is mine alone,” Mrs Merkel told reporters in Berlin. “The whole process has caused additional uncertainty, for which I ask all citizens to forgive me.”
“There were good reasons for it but it could not be implemented well enough in this short time,” she added.