Berlin - German virologist Christian Drosten has warned against ending the current lockdown measures too early.

"When the elderly and perhaps also some of the risk groups have been vaccinated, there will be enormous economic, social, political and perhaps also legal pressure to end the corona measures," he said during the federal government conference on Friday.

He warned that if the restrictions are lifted too quickly, many more people will become infected than we can even imagine now: "We won't have daily case numbers of 20,000 or 30,000, rather 100,000 cases per day, in the worst case."

These would be younger people, the virologist said, but if a large number of them get infected, intensive care units will fill up again and there would be many deaths.

"We can cushion this bad scenario somewhat if we push the numbers down very low right now."

Drosten doesn't expect the coming summer to be much like the summer of 2020, when anti-corona measures were largely relaxed.

"The fact that we had such a relaxed summer in 2020 probably had to do with the fact that our case numbers stayed below a critical threshold in the spring. But that's not the case now."

Drosten fears there could be a repeat of what happened in Spain last summer: case numbers rose quickly after the spring lockdown ended, despite very hot weather.