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Czech PM says Merkel’s statement on coronavirus may cause panic

Merkel stated earlier on Wednesday in Berlin that up to 70% of the population may contract the novel coronavirus

PRAGUE, March 11. /TASS/. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement, in which she said that over 60% of the German population may contract the novel coronavirus, may cause panic among citizens, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis told reporters on Wednesday.

"I don’t want to comment on the situation [with coronavirus] in Germany, although I think that such statements cause panic," Babis stressed. "We [the Czech government] have introduced decisive measures so that such "black" scenarios would not even be possible," he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated earlier on Wednesday in Berlin that up to 70% of the population may contract the novel coronavirus. "We need to understand that the virus is already here, and as long as the population has no immunity against the virus, as long as there are no vaccines and no treatment, the share of the infected population will be high - experts talk about 60-70%," the chancellor said.

As of Wednesday, the Czech Republic has reported nearly 70 coronavirus cases. The government has closed all schools, universities, museums, art galleries and libraries. All public events attended by over 100 have been banned indefinitely. Czech Deputy Minister of Health Roman Prymula said on Wednesday that the country’s schools and universities would remain closed for at least a month.

In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, central China. According to Chinese authorities, about 80,700 people have been infected with the virus in the country. The death toll has exceeded 3,100, while about 61,400 patients have recovered. WHO declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus a global health emergency and named the virus COVID-19. Cases of coronavirus have been reported in over 100 countries, including Russia. The largest outbreaks of COVID-19 outside of China have been detected in South Korea, Iran and Italy. According to WHO, the total amount of people infected has surpassed 110,000 globally, while over 4,000 people have died.