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Merkel warns coronavirus cases in Germany ‘could leap up to 19,200 daily by Christmas’

Chancellor Angela Merkel is deeply worried about sharply rising new coronavirus infections in Germany, her spokesman said Monday, urging citizens to keep to strict hygiene measures including masks if social distances cannot be maintained.

Merkel warns coronavirus cases in Germany 'could leap up to 19,200 daily by Christmas'
Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

“The development of infection numbers is of great concern to us,” Steffen Seibert said. “We can see from some of our European friends where that could lead.”

In a meeting with her Christian Democrat (CDU) party's top brass, Merkel had warned that new infection numbers – currently at around 2,000 a day – could leap to 19,200 daily by Christmas if the trend “continues in this way,” party sources told AFP.

The chancellor's warning came a day before she is due to hold a video conference with the premiers of Germany's 16 states on the next measures to take to keep infections down.

Germany began to ease stringent measures including shop closures or limits to the numbers of people meeting from late April, after weeks of lockdown brought new infections down from the peak of around 6,000 daily.

But with travel picking up again, particularly during summer holidays, and larger gatherings taking place, contagion has returned swiftly.

During the CDU meeting, Merkel also reportedly cited where priority would lie in terms of which sectors to keep open while fighting the pandemic.

“We must set priorities — keeping the economy running, schools and kindergartens open. Football is secondary,” she said, according to Germany's top-selling Bild daily.

The Chancellor also sees parties, visits to restaurants and religious events as problematic.

More than 11,000 new infections were registered in France on Sunday. In Germany, the figure was 1,411 cases and on Saturday it was 2,507 – the highest figure since April, the peak of the crisis when more than 6,000 daily cases were reported.

READ ALSO: Should Germany opt for a coronavirus traffic light warning system?

Among her CDU colleagues, Merkel also reportedly expressed doubts that the Berlin state government was seriously trying to initiate measures against the outbreaks in view of the sharp rise in numbers in the capital. “Something must happen in Berlin,” Merkel said.

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COVID-19

German Chancellor Scholz tests positive for Covid after Gulf tour

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has tested positive for the coronavirus and is displaying mild symptoms after returning from a tour of the Gulf, his spokesman said Monday.

German Chancellor Scholz tests positive for Covid after Gulf tour

The 64-year-old Social Democrat is isolating in his apartment in the chancellery, and will attend meetings online, spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said.

At the weekend, he visited Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar on a hunt for new energy sources after Russia cut gas supplies amid tensions over the Ukraine war.

He signed a deal Sunday for the UAE to supply natural gas and diesel to Germany.

READ ALSO: UAE to supply Germany with gas and diesel 

Meanwhile Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, also of the SPD, announced via Twitter on Monday that she had tested positive for Covid.

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