- Merkel pointed out that experts believe between 60-70% of the population will be infected.
- Merkel emphasized that as long as no vaccine or other treatment has been found, the population will be infected.
- Berlin will allocate €1 billion to fight the coronavirus and €145 million to help find a vaccine.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel made her first official statement on the outbreak of the coronavirus Wednesday. At a news conference in Berlin, the Christian Democratic politician emphasized that the immediate priority is to delay the spread of the virus. She also called on every citizen to take responsibility.
At the beginning of the press conference, Merkel stated that “the virus has entered Europe.” Merkel emphasized that as long as no vaccine or other treatment has been found, the population will be infected. The proportion of coronaviruses will be high.
She pointed out that experts believe between 60-70% of the population will be infected, and the elderly and people with a previous medical history are particularly threatened. Therefore, the government’s behavior must be determined on the premise that the health system is not paralyzed. Currently, more than 1,600 people in Germany are infected with the new coronavirus, and three have died of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
At a press conference with Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn and the director of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, Chancellor Merkel stressed that government action must be based on the opinions of scientists and experts. She pointed out that, first, efforts must be made to delay the spread of the virus. “It’s about winning time,” she said. She emphasized that it was imperative to ensure that health workers could work efficiently, it was important to ensure that all levels of the country were working.
Merkel introduced the EU summit last night at a news conference. Considering the spread of the coronavirus, the summit first adopted a video format. The summit agreed that close coordination between all partners within the EU is essential, the Commission will appoint a panel of virologists, and EU member states will provide support for vaccine development. The government in Berlin will allocate €1 billion to fight the coronavirus and €145 million to finance the International Vaccine Research Initiative-Epidemic Prevention and Innovation Alliance (Cepi).
Merkel pointed out that the virus must also affect the economy, so the federal government has moved quickly and will allocate funds this week to ensure the ability of companies to pay. She revealed that the heads of state and governments of the EU member states reached a consensus and adopted a flexible attitude on the issue of stability and growth packages and national subsidy regulations.
Chancellor Merkel called on every citizen to show a sense of responsibility and to think for themselves and others. Speaking of particularly threatened elderly people and people with existing sickness, she said, “our unity, our reason, our love are being tested. I hope we can pass the test.”
Expanded Border Control
To curb the spread of the coronavirus, Germany will strengthen surveillance on the border. The federal government’s crisis team informed that police will further strengthen surveillance, especially at the southern border. The crisis team, composed of representatives of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Health, also supported a previous recommendation by Health Minister Span. Minister Span suggested canceling events with more than 1,000 participants. Similar directives have been issued in many federal states, including the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the worst-affected state.
First German Professional Player Infected
For the first time in German professional football, a player tested positive for coronavirus. German Bundesliga team Hanover 96 reported on Wednesday that the team’s defender, Timo Hubers, has been diagnosed with the coronavirus infection and has begun self-quarantine.