German Chancellor Angela Merkel is put in quarantine after doctor she saw tested positive for coronavirus – as her country bans gatherings of more than TWO people to stop the spread
Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel will quarantine herself at home after being treated by a doctor who has since tested positive for coronavirus – as the country bans gatherings of more than two people to stop the spread of the disease.
‘The Chancellor has decided to quarantine herself at home. She will be tested regularly in the coming days… (and) fulfil her official business from home,’ Steffen Seibert said in a statement.
The doctor had visited Merkel, 65, on Friday to vaccinate her against the pneumococcus bacteria.
Mr Seibert added: ‘It could take some time to determine whether the chancellor is herself infected as ‘a test would not yet be fully conclusive.’
It comes just hours after she banned gatherings of more than two people in a nationwide crackdown to stop the spread of the killer disease.
Around 73 people have died in Germany after testing positive for COVID-19, which has infected almost 22,000 across the nation.
‘Our own behaviour is the most effective way’ of slowing the rate of infection, Merkel said of the nationwide measures, which are expected to remain in place for two weeks.
People will not be allowed to form groups of more than two in public unless they live together in the same household or the gathering is work-related, she added.
The German chancellor claims she is against a rigid lockdown because she fears it could backfire.
In a statement given in Berlin after the teleconference, Merkel added: ‘The great aim is to gain time in the fight against the virus’.
The German chancellor also further tightened rules on social interaction, with restaurants ordered to only offer takeaway services and hairdressers and beauty, massage and tattoo parlours asked to close.
It comes after Merkel last week announced gatherings in churches, mosques and synagogues would be banned and said playgrounds and non-essential shops would close amid growing numbers of coronavirus cases.
Germany’s public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute, also warned on Tuesday that the coronavirus crisis could last up to two years.
The institute said the global pandemic could stretch on for another 24 months as they usually run their course in waves.
According to RKI President Lothar Wieler, the length of time depends on how many people develop immunity to COVID-19 after contracting the virus, how many more people test positive for the illness and how long it takes to develop a vaccine.
Dr Wieler did not rule out the potential for some of the emergency measures established by countries to have to stay in place for that duration.
Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the government has come up with some 50 million euros (£45 million) to bring home German citizens stuck abroad.
He announced a drive to bring home thousands of tourists stranded in popular winter vacation spots across the globe – particularly people on package holidays in Morocco, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, the Maldives and Egypt.
Maas said the government would spend up to 50 million euros on the effort to bring Germans home in co-operation with airlines including Lufthansa.
He did not give a precise number of stranded Germans but said there was a particularly large number in Morocco, with around 4,000 or 5,000.
He said that ‘even if we will do everything humanly possible, we cannot in every case provide a solution within 24 hours’.
He added his ministry has issued a formal warning against tourist travel to any country.