Merkel Says Germany Will Do ‘Whatever It Takes’ to Tackle Virus

Telegram från Bloomberg / Omni Ekonomi
11 mars 2020, 12.31

(Bloomberg) --

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany will do whatever is needed to limit the impact of the coronavirus on Europe’s biggest economy.

“We will do whatever is necessary,” Merkel said at a news conference in Berlin, a day after the 27 EU leaders held a video conference to coordinate action with European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde.

The German leader was referring to budget spending on health measures, on top of a pledge to provide ailing companies with liquidity and extend furlough pay for workers. She said she agreed with Lagarde that the situation must be taken “very seriously” and that without natural immunity against the virus, and a lack as yet of vaccination or therapy options, as much as 70% of the population is at risk.

Merkel rarely gives formal news conferences and has up to now allowed her health minister, Jens Spahn, to take the lead on briefing the public about the government’s response to the virus.

That has prompted criticism about her engagement with the crisis. The decision to appear with Spahn on Wednesday came after Bild newspaper, Germany’s biggest-selling daily, accused her on its front page of failing to show leadership during the “corona chaos.”

Merkel commented briefly on the virus in a speech at a German-Greek forum on Monday and her spokesman issued a statement on her behalf after Tuesday’s video conference. She also briefed lawmakers in her parliamentary caucus on Tuesday.

EU member states will act in concert to slow the spread of the virus, Merkel said, calling for the bloc to maintain economic life even as it mobilizes to fight the epidemic.

“The virus has arrived in Europe; it’s here -- and everybody has to understand that,” she said, adding that each EU nation will contribute what it can to counter the spread.

To contact the reporters on this story: Arne Delfs in Berlin at adelfs@bloomberg.net;Patrick Donahue in Berlin at pdonahue1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net, Iain Rogers, Raymond Colitt

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.