COVID-19 Pandemic Biggest Challenge For The EU Since It Was Established — Angela Merkel

German chancellor Angela Merkel made the first televised crisis address during her 15 years in office on Wednesday evening (March 18).

Merkel, who normally only goes on television for her New Year’s message, appealed directly to the German people, saying she was reaching out to them “in this unusual way” in order to explain what the government was doing during the coronavirus pandemic. She urged every citizen to take the coronavirus seriously and to help to slow its spread.

“There has been no challenge to our country that depends so much on our joint solidarity since the Second World War,” Merkel said on public broadcaster ZDF.

“We are not doomed to passively accept the spread of the virus,” Merkel said. “We have a remedy against it: we must keep our distance from each other out of respect."

The chancellor did not announce a curfew, as president Emmanuel Macron has done in France.
COVID-19 Pandemic Biggest Challenge For The EU Since It Was Established — Angela Merkel
COVID-19 Pandemic Biggest Challenge For The EU Since It Was Established — Angela Merkel
"We are a democracy,” she said. “We do not live by coercion, but by shared knowledge and participation." However, she added that the government could “rethink and react with other measures at any time” — a strong indication that a curfew has not been ruled out.

As COVID-19 cases in Germany have increased dramatically this month, Merkel has stressed repeatedly that people need to show solidarity with the vulnerable, elderly, and infirm, by staying at home.

“I know how difficult this is... in times of need we want to be close to each other, but at the moment the opposite is necessary,” Merkel said tonight.

She assured the nation that the food supply will be safe and that if shop shelves are empty for a day, they will be replenished. She said that keeping food in stock has always been sensible but within reason. Bulk-buying, however, “was senseless and goes completely against solidarity.”

Merkel earlier described the coronavirus pandemic “more extraordinary than the banking crisis” of 2008, because this crisis is about saving lives as well as economic survival.

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