Angela Merkel today declared coronavirus the ‘biggest challenge for Germany since WWII’ in a televised address to the nation.
The Chancellor urged Germans to heed the stringent confinement measures imposed this week as the number of infections in her country soared over 11,000 today, including 28 deaths.
‘The situation is serious. Take it seriously. Not since German reunification, no, not since the Second World War, has our country faced a challenge that depends so much on our collective solidarity,’ the veteran leader said in her first-ever direct television appeal to the nation. “
“I truly believe we can succeed in this task, if all citizens truly understand their own tasks,“ Merkel added.
Federal and local governments have shut down schools, colleges, many businesses and public spaces in recent days in increasingly desperate attempts to slow the spread of the virus.
The country has however stopped short of ordering people to stay home, in contrast with the tougher restrictions introduced in France, Belgium, Italy and Spain. Germans have continued to go outside and enjoy the spring sun and to socialise with other people…
Merkel added: Such decisions were never taken lightly in a democracy, she said, and could only be temporary. ‘But they are necessary right now to save lives.’