Merkel to give first ever TV address on coronavirus crisis as infections soar in Germany

Merkel to give first ever TV address on coronavirus crisis as infections soar in Germany
Chancellor Angela Merkel will address Germany on Wednesday. Photo: DPA
Chancellor Angela Merkel will for the first time deliver a televised address to German citizens on the escalating coronavirus crisis on Wednesday evening, a government spokesman said.

“Germany's biggest challenge since World War Two”: Merkel has given her TV address, CLICK HERE to here what she had to say.

 

The German leader is expected to urge the public to heed government recommendations to stay home, after Europe's biggest economy announced sweeping new measures to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Aside from her annual New Year's Eve address, it will be the first time in her 15-year tenure as chancellor that Merkel has addressed citizens directly via a televised statement.

READ ALSO: What's the latest on coronavirus in Germany and what do I need to know?

The chancellor will not announce “new measures” in the address, which will be broadcast by Germany's two major broadcasters ARD and ZDF, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

“It will be about what now has to be done in Germany in order to slow the spread of the virus and how each individual should play their part in that,” he said.

On Monday, the government and federal states announced drastic new restrictions to public life, including the closure of all non-essential shops and a ban on religious gatherings.

Supermarkets, banks and pharmacies are among the shops allowed to stay open, while bars, clubs, swimming pools and cinemas have been told to close.

Merkel and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also urged citizens to “stay home” and to cancel holidays “at home and abroad”.

Germany is among the countries worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with latest figures showing the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is approaching 10,000.

A total of 26 people have died in connection with the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and Robert Koch Institute.

On Tuesday morning there were about 7,272 confirmed cases and under 20 reported deaths.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus restrictions: What's closed (and what's open) in Germany?

The RKI for public health, which publishes the official figures, urged citizens to avoid social contact and warned of an exponential rise in infections early Wednesday.

“If we don't manage to sustainably and effectively reduce contact between people over a matter of weeks, then it is possible we will have up to 10 million cases within two to three months,” said RKI president Lothar Wieler at a press conference.

Wieler also called on clinics and hospitals to expand their intensive and respiratory care facilities “as much as possible”, saying capacities should “at least double”.

“Train students, activate doctors who may have gone into retirement,” he said.


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