UPDATE 1-German states impose measures to keep people at home to contain virus

(Adds Saarland ban, Merkel meeting state premiers on Sunday)

MUNICH, March 20 (Reuters) - The German states of Bavaria and Saarland said on Friday they were imposing restrictions for two weeks that aimed to keep people inside their homes to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“It’s not easy to take these decisions,” the state premier of Bavaria, Markus Soeder, said when announcing the move in the southern German state.

“We take these decisions according to the best of our knowledge and conscience. There will be a Bavaria after corona, but it will be a stronger one if we don’t look away,” he added.

The western state of Saarland announced similar measures, saying people were only allowed to leave their homes to go to work, do essential shopping, visit the doctor or take exercise alone. The restrictions would be in place until April 3.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet the leaders of Germany’s 16 states on Sunday to review measures required across the country to slow the spread of the virus, her spokesman said.

Reporting by Joern Poltz; Writing by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Thomas Seythal and Edmund Blair