Merkel Quarantined After Contact with Doctor Infected by Coronavirus

merkel
MICHAEL KAPPELER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Germany’s Angela Merkel has gone self-quarantined in her home after contact with a doctor infected by the Wuhan coronavirus.

Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Merkel’s government — at present a so-called “grand coalition” between her notionally centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the left-wing Social Democrats; roughly equivalent to a Tory-Labour or Republican-Democrat joint administration — told reporters that a doctor who administered a pneumococcal vaccine to the Chancellor on Friday had subsequently tested positive for the Chinese virus.

Consequently, the 65-year-old politician has been quarantined, apparently voluntarily, where she will continue to work while receiving regular tests, according to CNBC.

The pandemic is accelerating rapidly in Germany, with over 90 dead and more than 20,000 confirmed infected — although the latter figure is in part due to the country’s relatively extensive testing.

Chancellor Merkel had previously told the German people, in somewhat eyebrow-raising terms, that “since the Second World War there has been no challenge to our nation that has demanded such a degree of common and united action,” and that “It’s down to each and every one of us… to fight it.”

The country has imposed some of the more draconian lockdown measures on the continent, with meetings of more than two people outside the home and workplace banned.

This contrasts sharply with the situation in the United Kingdom, where schools and then pubs, cafes, gyms, and so on have been shut only in recent days, and social distancing “advised” — resulting in throngs of people continuing to cluster together in shops, parks, and public markets, apparently without consideration for the potential consequences.

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