Members of a Social Democrat Party (SPD) working group have been told to work from home after it emerged a guest who attended a session on March 2 had tested positive for the potentially deadly flu-like virus. None of the delegates or parliamentary group members have shown symptoms but the working group has announced the cancellation of all appointments and sent delegates to work from home for at least this week.
SPD MP Karl Lauterbach said: “Yes, there is the suspicion that there is a case in the Bundestag.
“All SPD deputies who attended the meeting had left the parliament.
“I don’t think I have infected myself, but I still go into quarantine until Sunday.
“By then two weeks will have passed since the dangerous session.”
The coronavirus scare at the heart of power comes after Chancellor Angela Merkel warned up to 70 percent of the country could be infected by the disease.
So far more than 1,300 confirmed cases of the disease have been recorded in Germany and there have been two deaths.
Ms Merkel has ordered the cancellation of all public events with expected crowds in excess of 1,000 people as the country tries to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
Mrs Merkel told a news conference in Berlin: “You have to understand that if the virus is there, and the population has no immunity yet to this virus, there are no vaccines and no therapy so far, a high percentage – experts say 60 to 70 percent – of the population will be infected.”
She said the priority was to slow the spread of the disease “so all the measures we are taking are of the greatest significance because they are giving us time – it does matter what we do, it is not in vain”.
She promised to do what was needed to counter the effects of the coronavirus and that would happen in agreement with European partners.
She said: “The message should be: we will do what is necessary as a country, and that is also together with Europe.”
Ms Merkel refused to set a cap on the costs of dealing with the challenge of the coronavirus epidemic.
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She said: “We will do what we need to get through this and then at the end we will look at what that means for our budget.”
She also declined to commit to providing concrete material aid to Italy’s overburdened healthcare system, saying she would discuss what could be done with Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in coming days.
She told reporters: “We’re not indifferent when we see something like this happening in Italy.
“But it’s not as if our own healthcare system is unburdened currently.
“We’re all in a stress situation but we’re bound by friendship and we will act as friends do.”
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