İrem UZUN -TDO- German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that up to 70% of the country's population - some 58 million people - could contract the coronavirus. Merkel made the stark prediction at a news conference on Wednesday alongside Health Minister Jens Spahn. She said since there was no known cure, the focus would fall on slowing the spread of the virus." It's about winning time," she explained. Her remarks came as Italy entered its second day of a national lockdown. 

Merkel on Wednesday said "solidarity and reason" were central to the country's response to the virus. "The virus is in Europe, it is there, and we must understand that," Merkel said at a press conference to discuss the country's response to the COVID-19 outbreak. About 60% to 70% of people in Germany are likely to be infected because the virus is new, there is no vaccine or treatment, and the population has no immunity, Merkel said, repeating comments made ahead of a coalition government meeting on Tuesday. “Measures would be directed toward protecting the elderly and people with preexisting health conditions — as these groups are most at risk from the virus,” she added.

As of Wednesday, Germany has confirmed three deaths and almost 1,300 infections. Health Minister Jens Spahn, who is leading the country’s response, has said that sealing its borders would not work and has rejected calls to follow neighbor Austria in denying entry to visitors from Italy. With three deaths and the number of infections pushing close to 1,300, Merkel's government has called for the cancellation of large events with more than 1,000 people. Classical concerts and operas in the capital are also hit, as curtains stay down for cultural events gathering more than 500 spectators.

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