Merkel Calls for European Solidarity in Fight Against Covid-19

Merkel Calls for European Solidarity in Fight Against Covid-19

Chancellor Angela Merkel urged European leaders to find common ground to check the spread of the coronavirus and guard against faster-spreading strains.

“The EU is one area” in the fight against the disease, the chancellor said Thursday in Berlin. “There is still some time to prevent virus mutations from spreading.”

Merkel will participate in a virtual meeting of European Union leaders later on Thursday. The bloc will consider special privileges for people who have been inoculated and look into whether to apply travel restrictions. Earlier this week, Merkel threatened to impose border controls without a coordinated response with European neighbors.

The EU will also seek ways to speed up vaccination programs. Merkel said intensive talks are under way to accelerate production of the shots.

Germany extended lockdown curbs to Feb. 14 and sharpened select measures on Tuesday, but stopped short of a nationwide curfew and a complete closure of schools amid resistance from some state officials.

While contagion rates in Europe’s largest economy have declined to the lowest since early November, levels remain more than double a government target. Authorities are concerned that fast-spreading strains could spark a surge like in Britain and Ireland. The risks were underscored on Thursday with Germany’s coronavirus fatalities surpassing 50,000.

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