Coronavirus: Angela Merkel tests negative after contact with infected doctor

Germany's chancellor is in quarantine as the country banned gatherings of more than two people

German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes a press statement on the spread of the new coronavirus COVID-19 at the Chancellery, in Berlin on March 22, 2020. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is going in to quarantine after meeting virus-infected doctor according to her spokesman on March 22, 2020. / AFP / POOL / Michael Kappeler
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel tested negative for the coronavirus on Monday after isolating herself as a precaution over contact with an infected doctor.

The doctor had recently given Ms Merkel, 65, a precautionary shot against pneumococcal infection, but was later confirmed to have the novel coronavirus.

Her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said the chancellor would undergo "regular tests" in coming days and continue with her work from home for the time being.

Ms Merkel was warned about her possible exposure to the virus after she announced new measures to curb its spread in Germany.

Germany has banned gatherings of more than two people, except for families.

The rules, which came as the number of confirmed cases in the country rose to nearly 24,000, will be in place for two weeks.

Ninety people have died in Germany from Covid-19.

Earlier, Ms Merkel thanked the “overwhelming majority” of Germans for following social-distancing rules.

"I know that it means sacrifice," she said. "I'm moved by the fact that so many are abiding by these rules.

"This way we show care for older and sick people, because the virus is most dangerous to them. In short: we are saving lives with this."

Even before her own quarantine, she said the lockdown was having a considerable impact on her personally.

"My life has also fundamentally changed and now consists largely of phone calls and video conferences," Ms Merkel said.

"With a certain distance the risk of infections is reduced almost to zero.

"Whether you are half a metre apart or 1.5 metres apart makes a huge difference."

One of Ms Merkel’s possible successors has already tested positive for the virus.

Friedrich Merz, one of the front-runners to lead her centre-right Christian Democratic Union, received a positive result at the end of last week and was put into isolation.