Wed. May 18th, 2022
A view of the German chancellery in Berlin.
A view of the German chancellery in Berlin. (Omer Messinger/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel has tested negative in her first screening for the novel coronavirus, a government spokesman said Monday.

The German leader has been in isolation since Sunday after being informed that a doctor she met with on Friday had tested positive for the coronavirus. Her office has said she is not experiencing any symptoms.

Spokesman Steffen Seibert told the news agency DPA that Merkel would continue to be tested for the virus.

“More tests will be done in the next few days,” Seibert said.

Lothar Wieler, president of the German governmental agency responsible for disease control, also indicated Monday that measures undertaken in the past weeks may already be having an effect, after Merkel announced tougher restrictions on social contacts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“We see the trend that the exponential growth curve is somewhat flattening,” Wieler said about new coronavirus cases in Germany.

“I am optimistic that these measures are already visible,” he said of the country’s efforts to implement social-distancing policies. In a news conference on Monday morning, he acknowledged that the signs of a flattening curve are still early, as the social-distancing rules have been in place only for a week in most states.

On Sunday, Merkel said human contact in public spaces should be limited to two people. The new rules, which she advised were not recommendations and would be enforced, apply only to those outside of the household, meaning members of a household living together could socialize in public.

All restaurants would be closed, with exceptions for takeout and delivery, Merkel said, as would hairdressers and other services that require close contact. Whenever possible, a distance of five feet should be maintained between people, the German leader said.

Germany has had about 26,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, the fifth-most of any nation, yet only slightly more than 100 deaths, far fewer than Italy, France, Spain and other European countries.

Adam Taylor contributed to this report.


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