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Merkel ‘doing well’ in home quarantine

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes a press statement on the spread of the new coronavirus COVID-19 at the Chancellery, in Berlin on March 22, 2020. – German Chancellor Angela Merkel is going in to quarantine after meeting virus-infected doctor according to her spokesman on March 22, 2020. (Photo by Michael Kappeler / POOL / AFP)

Angela Merkel is “doing well” in self-imposed quarantine and awaiting the results of her coronavirus test, her spokesman said Monday, as the veteran chancellor joined millions of Germans in working from home.

Merkel decided to self-isolate as a precaution after learning on Sunday that a doctor who vaccinated her last Friday was infected with the novel coronavirus.

“The chancellor is doing well,” her spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters.

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Dialling in from her Berlin flat, Merkel, 65, led a cabinet meeting that decided on a major rescue package for virus-stricken companies and employees in Europe’s top economy.

“She was tested today and now we are waiting for the results, and we’ll see what comes out of that,” Seibert said, adding that any next steps would be guided by advice from doctors and Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) disease control agency.

Seibert thanked everyone on Merkel’s behalf for “the many, many well wishes and messages for the chancellor to stay healthy”.

The spokesman declined to say whether Merkel’s chemistry professor husband Joachim Sauer was quarantining with her, saying he would not share information about family members.

Asked if he himself, as a close Merkel staffer, should self-isolate, Seibert said he last met with the chancellor on Sunday afternoon but had stuck to the advice of keeping a safe physical distance from people.

News that Merkel was going into quarantine came shortly after she gave a press conference in Berlin where she showed no symptoms of ill health.

She used the press conference to announce fresh curbs on social interactions to contain a pandemic that has infected over 22,600 people in Germany and killed 86.

The latest measures include a ban on gatherings of more than two people, on top of last week’s closures of schools, non-essential shops, bars and restaurants.

The head of the RKI, Lothar Wieler, on Monday said he was “optimistic” that the restrictions were paying off, noting that the outbreak’s “exponential growth curve had started to flatten a bit”.

He expected to have a clearer view of the trend by Wednesday.

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