Merkel Seeks to Rally Germans as Virus Death Toll Mounts

Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to rally citizens after Germany reported its worst run of coronavirus fatalities since the pandemic broke out.

“We have come a long way,” she said in her weekly podcast published on the government’s website, imploring people to wear masks and stick to social-distancing measures as cases mount. “Each and everyone one of us still has a role to play.”

Merkel’s comments come after coronavirus deaths exceeded 300 for a fifth day on Friday, the first time that’s happened since the disease reached Germany. The toll is another grim milestone after cases reported in Europe’s most-populous country exceeded 1 million on Thursday.

Merkel expressed sympathy to those who have died or lost people to the virus. “And we think of those who are this very hour fighting for their lives in our hospitals,” she added.

Record Levels

Cases in Germany have more than tripled since the start of October, with the number of infected people in intensive care climbing to record levels.

Like other European nations, Germany has imposed stricter measures in recent weeks to stop the disease from spreading. Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s 16 states agreed Wednesday to tighten limits on private gatherings but kept schools and most businesses operating to help limit the impact on the economy.

In contrast to nations like France and the U.K., Germany’s curbs have yielded little progress in slowing the disease’s spread. The chancellor said this week that restrictions will remain in place until January, while her chief of staff raised the possibility of them being extended until March.

In her podcast, which also praised Germany’s communal efforts to combat the virus, Merkel said several vaccines “could be available within the foreseeable future.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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