German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in self quarantine after a doctor she has recently been in contact with was diagnosed with Covid-19.
The news comes after Merkel gave one of the most extraordinary speeches of her career last week — which saw her described as the “leader of the free world” by New York Magazine (not the first time she has received that label), and as the “speech we’ve been waiting for” by Seattle’s The Stranger.
“Let me tell you, this is serious,” she said in the speech direct to camera last week. “Take it seriously too. Since German unification. No, since the Second World War, there has not been a challenge for our country which was so dependent, on our joint, solidary action.”
Merkel will carry out her duties from home and will be regularly tested during her self quarantine. She’s due to discuss with cabinet a US$160 billion stimulus package to help keep the country afloat.
In last week’s speech broadcast across the country, Merkel thanked workers on the frontline, including those in healthcare system and in supermarkets.
She said that Germany is facing its biggest challenge since WW2.
“Germany has an excellent health system, perhaps one of the best in the world,” she said. “But our hospitals, too, would be completely overwhelmed if too many patients would be delivered in too short a time.”
She urged the country’s 83 million people to stay home and practice social distancing when they must go out.
“I appeal to you: Please obey the rules, which will now be valid for the coming times,” she said.
Merkel has also announced new social distancing laws that prevent groups of more than two from mixing with each other, excluding families.