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German leader: 70% of population could get coronavirus

BERLIN

Up to 70% of Germany’s population is likely to get infected with coronavirus, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Merkel underlined that her government’s priority will be to take measures to slow down the spread of the virus, and gain time for coronavirus vaccine or treatment studies.

“Many experts say that 60 to 70% of population will become infected, as we don’t have immunity in the population against this virus, and yet there is no option to be vaccinated, and no treatment available,” Merkel said.

“So first and foremost, it’s about gaining time,” she stressed, adding that slowing the spread of the virus will give more time for medical institutions for developing medicines and vaccines, and it will also ensure that the country’s health system do not become overburdened.

Earlier on Wednesday, Germany’s disease control agency The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country has risen to 1,296.

It did not report any new fatalities, leaving the death toll unchanged at two.

Germany’s two most populous states, Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia, have already decided to cancel major events with more than 1,000 participants to stop the virus from spreading.

Coronavirus, officially known also COVID-19, was first detected last December in Wuhan, China.

The global death toll from the virus is now nearly 4,300 with more than 118,000 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization.

The virus has spread to six continents and more than 100 countries.

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