Merkel's desperate plea: Germany in LOCKDOWN as coronavirus biggest challenge 'since WW2'

1 min


Merkel's desperate plea: Germany in LOCKDOWN as coronavirus biggest challenge 'since WW2'

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday urged all German citizens to help fight the spread of the coronavirus by sticking to rules aimed at reducing direct social contact and avoiding as many new infections as possible. “It is serious. Take it seriously,” Merkel said in a televised speech. “Since German reunification, actually, since World War Two, there has never been a challenge for our country in which acting in solidarity was so very crucial.”

Merkel appealed to citizens to abide by the unprecedented rules restricting public life, agreed with the 16 federal states earlier this week, adding: “As the government, we will always re-examine what can be corrected, but also what may still be necessary.”

Her government has advised the country’s 16 regions to shut schools and daycare facilities until the end of the Easter holiday. Shops, except for grocery stores, bakeries, pharmacies banks and other essential businesses have been shut.

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Earlier on Wednesday, the first German town imposed a curfew to slow the spread of the coronavirus, officials said, though the nearly 7,000 citizens of Mitterteich in southern Bavaria are still allowed to buy groceries, go to work and visit the doctor.

The curfew will last until April 2, said authorities in the district of Tirschenreuth, close to the Czech border.

READ MORE:UK deputy health chief caught coughing during emergency coronavirus

In her speech, Merkel said she was well aware that the restrictions on the freedom of movement were hard to accept for many Germans, especially after having witnessed Communist rule in the East and the wall that divided the country.

But she insisted every citizen had to do her and his part to contain the spread of the disease and that this also applied to the government.

“We can and will use whatever it takes to help our entrepreneurs and workers through this difficult and testing time,” Merkel said.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who earlier tweeted that he was working from home due to a heavy cold and was “getting tested to be on the safe side”, said that the government was looking at additional steps to help firms hit by the virus.

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