German defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on March 19 said that Germany is calling up tens of thousands of reservists to help the nation battle against the coronavirus pandemic, international media reported. She added that the army began mobilizing its first batches of reserve troops over the weekend. She further said that the army will next standby "other reservist troops in through very targeted calls, and through a general call.”
In an unprecedented development, Germany has reported 13,979 cases of infection and 42 deaths due to the pandemic. According to reports, some 2,300 reservists responded to the weekend mobilization call, including more than 900 who can be deployed to health services. Describing the fight against COVID-19 a marathon, the German lawmaker said soldiers can step in when the capacity of civil forces is exhausted.
According to the reports, Germany has shut its borders with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, and Denmark barring all non-essential movements since March 15. This exempts trade and commerce.
Authorities have also imposed restrictions on social gatherings, and shutdown public premises like in-dining restaurants, bars, and pubs. The border closure prohibits foreign bulk purchases.
In her first direct TV address to the nation in over 14 years, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the country hadn’t faced a challenge like the current outbreak of the coronavirus since World War II.
Merkel urged every person within Germany to help protect those who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19 in her nationwide address. “Let me tell you: This is serious. Take it seriously too,” she said in her speech which was aired on several public and private TV stations.
German Chancellor also reportedly said, that the containment measures will be enforced by the police headed by the country’s regional leaders, as per reports. Additionally, Berlin and Cologne have shuttered all clubs, cinemas, theatres, and concert halls with immediate effect to stem the spike in the spread of the disease.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said that in a bid to escalate the containment measures, the government has scrapped the assembly of over 1,000 people across Germany. Several major sporting and other events, including the Bundesliga football matches have been cancelled, confirmed media reports.