Merkel calls for international cooperation against virus

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel called yesterday for international cooperation on the development of a vaccination for the new coronavirus, saying that the pandemic transcends borders and can only be countered jointly.

Speaking to Parliament in a session where lawmakers sat at a careful distance from one another in line with the country’s social-distancing regulations, Merkel said German scientists were busily researching the virus at home, but that “international cooperation against the virus is extremely important.”

“Science is never national, science serves mankind,” she said.

“Thus it goes without saying that when medication or a vaccination is found, tested, released and is ready for use, it must be available all around the world and affordable for the whole world.”

United States (US) President Donald Trump has announced he is halting funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) to review how it has handled the outbreak, but Merkel lauded the agency’s work in the fight against the coronavirus.

“For the German government, I emphasize the WHO is an indispensable partner and we support them in their mandate,” she said.

Germany this week began slowly easing restrictions after being on lockdown for weeks, allowing small shops to start opening while keeping social distancing in place.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. PHOTO: AP