Coronavirus: Germany’s Angela Merkel urges ‘solidarity and reason’
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday said “solidarity and reason” were central to the country’s response to the virus.
“The virus is in Europe, it is there and we must understand that,” added Merkel at a press conference to discuss the virus response and share what EU leaders discussed on their response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2) outbreak.
Around 60 to 70% of Germany’s population will be infected, because the virus is new and there is no vaccine or treatment and the population has no immunity, said Merkel repeating comments made ahead of a coalition government meeting on Tuesday.
Measures would be directed towards protecting the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions — as these groups are most at risk from the virus.
Germany’s response will focus on ensuring that police, critical infrastructure and medical people can continue to work, and that health services would not be overwhelmed.
A liquidity package will be discussed this week in a bid to shield business and industry from the effects of the virus.
A meeting is planned for Thursday between the premiers to discuss the state-level response to tackling the virus.
‘There will be more deaths’ warns RKI
Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) — the country’s public health body — warned of more deaths and severe cases of illness in Germany.
He said that there was much that remained unknown about the virus but that it wasn’t spreading like a wave, but through specific regions. The slower the virus spread, the more chance of finding a treatment or developing a vaccination.
Measures to protect the economy
The German government on Tuesday pledged €1 billion ($1.1 billion) to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak.
There are more than 1,200 confirmed cases in Germany and two people have died in the most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
kmm/stb (dpa, Reuters)