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Most people will get coronavirus, says Merkel

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 01:51s - Published
Most people will get coronavirus, says Merkel

Most people will get coronavirus, says Merkel

Up to 70% of the population is likely to be infected with the coronavirus that is currently spreading around the world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday, as Italy entered its second day of countrywide lockdown.

Francesca Lynagh reports.

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Most people will get coronavirus, says Merkel

Up to 70% of the German population is likely to become infected with coronavirus if the situation remains unchanged.

That's what Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday (March 11).

Her blunt assessment was criticized by some as being alarmist.

She also conceded that she isn't sure how the crisis may develop.

Germany has about 1,300 cases but only a handful of deaths as of Wednesday.

But it, and her expression of sympathy for the lockdown in nearby Italy -- underlines the concern some European countries have over the continent's outbreak.

Italy, the worst hit, has had over 600 deaths.

Its nationwide lockdown only allows people to move for reasons of work, for health needs or for emergencies.

Public transport is still in operation.

People are going to the office and forming long queues outside supermarkets -- told to keep a distance of a meter from each other.

Many business owners, like tobacconist Nicola Dattilo in Milan, are feeling the effects.

(SOUNDBITE) (Italian) TOBACCONIST WEARING FACE MASK, NICOLA DATTILO, SAYING: "Obviously, people are more and more scared of approaching the desk because of all the things being said on television." Further south, in Rome, the Vatican's St.

Peter's Square is closed -- the pope addressing his followers via video conference.

If you want to travel you need need to fill in a document explaining your reasons and carry it with you.

If you're found to have lied you could face a fine or even a jail term.

Across the rest of continent, Austria is denying entry to people arriving from Italy, Britain's junior health minister has tested positive for the virus, and Poland is closing all schools.



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