Germany urges events with more than 1,000 to be cancelled over coronavirus

DPA/The Local
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Germany urges events with more than 1,000 to be cancelled over coronavirus
The entrance to the Hannover Messe, one of the many events cancelled in Germany over coronavirus fears. Photo: DPA

Events with more than 1,000 participants should be cancelled to halt the progression of the coronavirus, Germany's health minister said Sunday, as cases in Europe's biggest economy reached close to 850.


"After many discussions with those responsible, I emphatically encourage the cancellation of events with more than 1,000 participants until further notice," Jens Spahn, the government's point man on coordinating action to contain contagion, wrote on Twitter.

Germany has over the last week scrapped several huge fairs, including Berlin's travel fest ITB, industrial show Hannover Messe and the Leipzig book fair.

READ ALSO: Berlin travel fair ITB cancelled over coronavirus fears

But Spahn's latest recommendation could lead to the postponement of many other events, including Bundesliga football matches and rock concerts.

German Football League chief Christian Seifert warned however that "the season must end by mid-May" as promotion and relegation clubs must be determined and to give participants in international competitions time to prepare.

With measures taken to halt the virus spread hitting the economy hard, leaders of Chancellor Angela Merkel's right-left coalition are meeting later Sunday to discuss ways to cushion the blow.

Ahead of the talks, ministers have signaled that possible action could include the scrapping of a so-called "solidarity tax" for the majority of tax-payers by as early as this summer to help put more cash in consumers' pockets.

Rules governing compensation for workers forced to cut working hours because of the crisis may also be eased, and investments may be ramped up to boost the sputtering economy.

READ ALSO: Recruitment freeze and home office: How coronavirus is affecting offices in Germany


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