German Chancellor Merkel’s Initial Virus Test Is Negative

(Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel tested negative for the coronavirus according to an initial result, allaying concern over Germany’s leadership as Europe confronts the spiraling pandemic.

“Further tests will be taken in the coming days” to confirm Merkel’s health, her chief spokesman Steffen Seibert said. Merkel was in good health and, like many others, doing the job from home, he said earlier.

Merkel quarantined herself late Sunday after learning that she had contact with a doctor who later tested positive for the virus. The doctor had administered a precautionary immunization against bacterial pneumonia for Merkel, 65, on Friday.

The chancellor is leading by example as she tries to persuade Germans to take the threat of the virus seriously. While Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also self-isolating, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and his deputy Pablo Iglesias have both continued to attend cabinet meetings after their partners tested positive.

Via video link, the German leader on Monday chaired an emergency cabinet meeting that signed off on an unprecedented package worth more than 750 billion euros ($800 billion) to buoy the economy.

Shortly before she went into isolation, Merkel spoke at a news conference following consultations with regional leaders. She detailed new restrictions to try to contain the spread of the virus and was asked how she is dealing personally with the situation.

“I’ve canceled almost all appointments where people would have come into the chancellery or where I would have gone to people,” she said Sunday. “So my life has also changed fundamentally and consists mainly of telephone and video conferences.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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