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Health Minister Jens Spahn ordered the health authorities of the sixteen federal states to activate their pandemic plans and “to prepare a possible implementation.”
Germany declared that it was heading towards a coronavirus epidemic and could no longer trace all cases, when the number of infected patients inside China has, for the first time, been overtaken by those elsewhere.
According to the daily The Berlin Spectator, what the authorities feared might be happening: precisely two weeks after the last Coronavirus case was confirmed in the Bavarian nation, the 16th one, seven more patients are being treated now.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn stated that the country stood "at the beginning of a Coronavirus epidemic." He said he had ordered the health authorities of the sixteen federal states to activate their pandemic plans and "to prepare a possible implementation."
There was no pandemic yet, Spahn said, but the situation had unfortunately worsened "in the past few hours," he lamented. "The infection chains are partially no longer trackable, and that is a new thing," Spahn said.
"Wir befinden uns am Beginn einer #Coronavirus-Epidemie. Deswegen habe ich heute Vertreter der Verbände aus dem Gesundheitsweisen getroffen und u.a. über Aufklärung zum Virus gesprochen. Alle werden mithelfen, die Öffentlichkeit noch besser zu informieren", so @JensSpahn. pic.twitter.com/PsQq6IPtui
"We are at the beginning of a # coronavirus epidemic. That is why I met representatives of the associations from the health sector today and talked about, among other things, education about the virus. Everyone will help to inform the public even better," said @JensSpahn
Germany's federal government established a crisis management committee headed by both the Interior and Health Ministries. Spahn and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer were scheduled to introduce details at a press conference on Thursday.
Reuters News Agency reported that authorities in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia are now racing to stop the coronavirus spreading by tracking down people in the district of Heinsberg, that have have been in contact with a local couple that contracted the infection.
The couple had taken part in local carnival celebrations and also visited the Netherlands in the ten days before they were diagnosed, officials said on Wednesday.
The death toll from coronavirus is over 2 700 worldwide, with the vast majority in mainland China. There have been more than 80,000 global cases with cases in every continent except Antarctica. In Europe, the most significant outbreak so far has happened in Italy.