German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the European Union must find common ground in fighting coronavirus and stopping the spread of new strains that have already swept through the UK and Ireland recently.
On Tuesday, Merkel warned that Germany could close its borders unless neighboring states acted together.
We need to make sure that everyone around us is doing the same. Otherwise we have to look at measures such as entry restrictions.
“The EU is one area,” Merkel said in Berlin on Thursday morning, hours before she was scheduled to join a video summit of EU leaders focused on Covid-19.
The chancellor warned about the dangers from the spread of the new mutant virus and that they need to be “taken very seriously.”
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“We act out of precaution for our country,” Merkel said, adding that everything is now about getting the getting the pandemic under control.
EU leaders are to consider whether to approve vaccine passports, which would allow for inoculated people to travel more freely, and whether to apply travel restrictions.
Merkel said Germany is at a difficult stage of the pandemic.
“On the one hand, the number of daily infections is gradually going down,” she told a press conference. “But the virus is still very dangerous. We have a shockingly high death count, more than 1,000 people today.”
On Wednesday, Germany extended its national lockdown until February 14 and brought in new rules making it mandatory to wear medical-grade masks in shops and on public transport.
So far, Germany has recorded 50,010 deaths and 2.1 million cases of coronavirus.
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