Drastic coronavirus restrictions could last TWO YEARS, Germany warns

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
By Paul Martin

The Robert Koch Institute says the coronavirus pandemic could last two years
Depends on how many people develop immunity & when vaccine is developed
Comes as Chancellor Merkel announced ban on gatherings in places of worship
Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

17 March 2020

Germany’s public health agency has warned that the coronavirus crisis could last up to two years.

The Robert Koch Institute, the German federal government agency responsible for disease control and prevention, made the claim on Tuesday as it strengthened the threat risk for Germany from ‘moderate’ to ‘high’.

It comes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday announced gatherings in churches, mosques and synagogues would be banned and said playgrounds and non-essential shops would close as the country reaches 7,000 confirmed cases, and 14 deaths.

The Robert Koch Institute said the pandemic could stretch on for another 24 months as pandemics usually run their course in waves.

According to RKI President Lothar Wieler, the length of time depends on how many people develop immunity to COVID-19 after contracting the virus, how many more people test positive for the illness and how long it takes to develop a vaccine.

Dr Wieler did not rule out the potential for some of the emergency measures established by countries to have to stay in place for that duration.

Meanwhile German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the government has come up with some 50 million euros (£45 million) to bring home German citizens stuck abroad.

He announced a drive to bring home thousands of tourists stranded in popular winter vacation spots across the globe – particularly people on package holidays in Morocco, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, the Maldives and Egypt.

Maas said the government is spending up to 50 million euros on the effort to bring Germans home over the coming days in co-operation with airlines including Lufthansa.

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