70 % of Germans will be infected with coronavirus, Angela Merkel warned

Coronavirus has killed 168 more people in Italy in the past 24 hours

Addressing a parliamentary group meeting of her Christian Democratic Union party in Berlin today, Merkel said that 58 million Germans could contract the disease if it spiralled out of control, according to insiders who spoke to newspaper Bild. But Health Minister Jens Spahn pointed out during the meeting that 80 per cent of all infected patients would have almost no symptoms. The infection is now transmitting between humans in nearly 30 countries across Europe, the World Health Organization has warned today.

Fears of the life-threatening infection have now engulfed the continent, which has recorded more than 17,000 cases and over 700 deaths in Europe alone. Europe’s crisis – centred in northern Italy but now rapidly spreading – began with a handful of imported cases from China, but has now seen tourist attractions and transport hubs deserted.

Italy went into a nationwide lockdown on Monday night and today recorded its highest single-day toll to date with 168 fatalities. This pushed the number of deaths outside China to more than 1,000.  WHO chiefs have now confirmed local transmission – when an infection spreads within a country – in 27 European nations. It came as the number of virus cases in Spain surged to 1,622 infections and 35 deaths as universities and schools in the capital Madrid were closed. Overall in Italy, 631 people have died from the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus and 10,149 have been infected in just over two weeks.


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