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03:10

Germany: We are at 'beginning of a corona epidemic' - Health Minister Spahn

Germany, Berlin
February 26, 2020 at 20:00 GMT +00:00 · Published

German Health Minister Jens Spahn warned that Germany was at "beginning of a corona[virus] epidemic," at a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday.

"The chance that this epidemic will pass Germany by, will not come true or happen," added Spahn.

Although "the infection chains are partial and not traceable," marking the seriousness of the situation, which "has changed in the last few hours," Spahn said Germany wouldn't be closing its borders.

Germany already established a flu pandemic plan three years ago, developed by the Robert Koch Institute, and would be put into practice.

"Because the virus is not the same, it is not a flu virus, the coronavirus. But at least the symptoms are in many ways comparable, and that makes it possible for us to fall back on the influenza pandemic plan, and to adapt," he said.

Also at the press conference Spahn announced the overturning of a 2016 ban on assisted suicide as a "business model," and said "the Federal Constitutional Court stated in their judgement today that it is an obligation not to be able to give help in suicide."

According to the latest reports by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), at least 81,000 people have been infected by the COVID-19 so far and over 2,700 people have died. There have currently been 19 cases confirmed in Germany.

03:10
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German Health Minister Jens Spahn warned that Germany was at "beginning of a corona[virus] epidemic," at a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday.

"The chance that this epidemic will pass Germany by, will not come true or happen," added Spahn.

Although "the infection chains are partial and not traceable," marking the seriousness of the situation, which "has changed in the last few hours," Spahn said Germany wouldn't be closing its borders.

Germany already established a flu pandemic plan three years ago, developed by the Robert Koch Institute, and would be put into practice.

"Because the virus is not the same, it is not a flu virus, the coronavirus. But at least the symptoms are in many ways comparable, and that makes it possible for us to fall back on the influenza pandemic plan, and to adapt," he said.

Also at the press conference Spahn announced the overturning of a 2016 ban on assisted suicide as a "business model," and said "the Federal Constitutional Court stated in their judgement today that it is an obligation not to be able to give help in suicide."

According to the latest reports by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), at least 81,000 people have been infected by the COVID-19 so far and over 2,700 people have died. There have currently been 19 cases confirmed in Germany.

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