Coronavirus takes hold in Germany

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

By George Hartley

Germany has confirmed 5813 cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths as a consequence of the ongoing worldwide pandemic. Bars, restaurants and other public establishments in cities including Cologne and Berlin are set to close in the coming days. Merkel suggested up to 70% of the country could eventually catch the virus, but the state would ‘spend what it takes’ to tackle the impacts of the pandemic  Interior Minister Horst Seehofer called for better European co-ordination in response to the outbreak, particularly around border controls, with some Schengen nations remaining open and others imposing travel restrictions. Finance Minister Olaf Scholz presented a four-point plan to dampen the economic impact of the pandemic, with half a trillion euros available and ‘no upper limit’. However, an extremely low death rate is so far being experienced in Germany, with 2.25 deaths per 1000 infections compared to 45.22 in Iran and 71.69 in Italy. According to experts, the reasons for this are unclear, but are likely related to Germany’s stringent testing programme.  Elsewhere Far-right AfD faction Flügel was placed under surveillance by domestic intelligence services, viewed as an extremist organisation due to inflammatory islamophobia. Some 20% of AfD members are members of the group. The Guardian published a piece on The Kangaroo Chronicles, a German book and film phenomenon centred around a communist kangaroo which has become a key symbol of the radical German left.  Deutsche Welle detailed the history of Germany and Israel’s unlikely relationship, 60 years since ex-chancellor Konrad Adenauer first met Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

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