News outlet Bild reported the German Chancellor’s comments, which echoed numbers forecast by Berlin virologist Christian Drosten, who added that such a total could take 2 years or longer to reach.
Given the fact that coronavirus has a mortality rate of around 1 per cent, this could equate to over half a million deaths, although new methods of fighting the virus could reduce this number.
The World Health Organization’s director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus claimed that the death rate was higher at 3.4 per cent, although this has been disputed.
Germany, which has recorded 1,565 coronavirus cases and two deaths so far, has yet to impose the kind of quarantine measures seen in Italy, where the entire country has been placed on lockdown.
Reportedly, the German Parliament fell completely silent when Merkel stated the number.
The infection is now transmitting between humans in nearly 30 countries across Europe, the World Health Organization has warned today.
Header: Police officers in protective suits checking the temperature of bus driver at the Rozvadov border crossing from the Germany side near the Czech city today.