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President Steinmeier also called on residents to adhere to the measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus /Photo: Screenshot/Facebook

Germany’s president calls for patience, solidarity in face of coronavirus pandemic

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called efforts to curb coronavirus a “test of our humanity”. It is the first time a German president formally addressed the nation on television other than at Christmas.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called on the nation to show patience, discipline and solidarity in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, in a rare televised address aired on Saturday.

“The solidarity that you show every day now, we will need all the more of in the future,” he said.

The crisis has brought out “the best and the worst in people,” he added.

Heidelberg’s main street (Hauptstrasse), which normally is daily filled with tourists and residents, looks deserted on a normal working day. Germany has extended the current restrictions on social life until 19 April/Photo: Femi Awoniyi

 

Steinmeier also called on residents to adhere to the measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

“How things will continue and when and how the restrictions can be relaxed, will not be decided by politicians and experts alone,” he said. The action of every resident of the country mattered in the current situation, he added.

The crisis has brought out “the best and the worst in people.”

Nations are not against nations

In response to comparisons of efforts to tackle the pandemic to war, Steinmeier called the measures a “test of humanity.”

“No, this pandemic is not a war. Nations are not against other nations, soldiers against other soldiers. It is a test of our humanity.”

He also predicted that society would be drastically changed by the crisis. “We don’t want to become an anxious or distrustful society. But we can be a society with more trust, more consideration and more confidence,” he said.

The German president additionally called for international solidarity across the European Union. “Germany cannot come out of this crisis strong and healthy if our neighbours do not also come out strong and healthy,” he said.

The speech marked the first time that Steinmeier formally addressed the nation on television, other than at Christmas time. There was no broadcast presidential speech even immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

On Sunday (4am), Germany reported a further 129 coronavirus deaths, the lowest daily fatality rate in three days. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) puts the total death toll at 2,673 out of 120,479 confirmed cases. Another tally, by Johns Hopkins University (JHU), puts the number of fatalities in Germany slightly higher, at 2,871. The two figures vary as RKI depends on data transmission from state and local levels and is updated around once a day, while JHU updates figures in real-time.

© DW

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