German Chancellor Angela Merkel in quarantine after a doctor tests positive for coronavirus

Sunday 22nd March 2020 23:45 GMT

Ms Merkel was told about the doctor's test shortly after holding a news briefing about new measures to curb the spread of the virus, her spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

It comes as Senator Rand Paul became the first US senator to contract COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

In a statement, Mr Seibert said Ms Merkel had received a precautionary vaccine on Friday against pneumococcus, a pneumonia-causing bacteria.

He added the 65-year-old would work from home for the time being.

Ms Merkel will undergo "regular tests" in the coming days.

In the conference earlier on Sunday, the German chancellor announced a nationwide ban on public meetings of more than two people outside of work, to be in place for at least two weeks.

She ordered restaurants to only offer takeaway services, while hairdressers and beauty, massage and tattoo parlours must close.

The chancellor expressed gratitude to Germans who were following the social distancing rule of staying at least 1.5 metres apart.

"Thank you. I know it means making sacrifices, both personal and economic," Ms Merkel said.

"I am very moved that so many people are obeying the rules. That's how we show that we care for older people and the sick, for whom the virus is the most dangerous. In short, that's how we save lives."

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"The great aim is to gain time in the fight against the virus."

Meanwhile, the office of US Senator Rand Paul confirmed in a statement that he has tested positive for coronavirus.

"Paul has no symptoms and was tested out of 'abundance of caution' given his recent travels," the statement read.

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