The Police has confirmed on March 29 that the finance minister of the German state of Hesse, Thomas Schäfer has committed suicide apparently after becoming “deeply worried” over how to combat with the economic impact of coronavirus outbreak. As per reports, his body was found on a high-speed train line in the town of Hochheim between Frankfurt and Mainz. The presence of a body on the tracks was first alerted by witnesses to paramedics who were initially unable to identify the remains due to severe extent of the injuries.
According to German media, the 54-year-old had appeared in the public regularly in recent days for assisting Germans about the ongoing crisis due to pandemic. Police and public prosecutor’s office have not given any information about the motive and reportedly said that they reached the conclusion of suicide after "extensive crime scene work, the questioning of numerous witnesses, the situation on-site and the technical and forensic evaluations and investigations".
According to reports, the Hesse’s prime minister Volker Bouffier said that the officials are in “shock, disbelief and are immensely sad” over Schäfer’s death. Hesse is the home of Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt, where major lenders like Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank have headquartered along with the European Central Bank. Bouffier recalled in a statement how Schäfer worked “day and night” to provide help to the companies and workers tackle the economic impact of coronavirus outbreak. The state premier further added that “we have to assume that he was deeply worried”.
The unexpected death of German finance minister came when he was widely expected to succeed Hesse’s Buffier if the latter had decided not to stand for re-election in 2023. Hesse’s premier is due to make a public statement in the next 24 hours. Schäfer, who belonged to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right CDU party, left behind his wife and two children
As of March 29, Germany has reported over 57,600 confirmed cases of coronavirus and at least 433 fatalities. The coronavirus, which originated in China in December 2019, has now claimed over 30,883 lives worldwide as of March 29. According to the tally by international news agency, the pandemic has now spread to 199 countries and has infected at least 664,103 people. Out of the total infections, 142,361 have been recovered but the easily spread virus is continuing to disrupt many lives. Major cities have been put under lockdown in almost all countries including Spain, and the economy is struggling.