BERLIN, March 11 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on all German citizens to show solidarity in fighting the coronavirus outbreak on Wednesday.
"Our solidarity, our reason, our hearts for each other are already put to the test, which I hope we will pass," said Merkel in Berlin.
Thanking medical staff in Germany for their efforts, Merkel stressed that the crucial task was to stop the spread of the virus.
It is important to slow the spread so that the health system is not burdened with too many cases all at once, said Merkel.
"It's about saving time", for that drastic steps are required, she stressed.
It is important that all state institutions such as the police and Germany's federal armed forces could continue to function, said Merkel. "Critical infrastructure" in Germany would need to continue running.
Following a video conference of the European Council on Tuesday, Merkel assured that the European stability and growth pact (SGP) would be handled "flexibly." On Wednesday, the EU announced a corona response investment initiative of 25 billion euros (28.3 billion U.S. dollars) to support the economy.
Merkel stressed that her own government was also taking decisive action to mitigate the economic consequences of the coronavirus.It is important to ensure that "economic life was sustained to some extent."
Earlier this week, the German government had announced offering liquidity support for companies affected by the coronavirus and lowering the legal requirements for German companies to receive short-time work compensation.
In addition, the German government is planning an "investment offensive," mainly in infrastructure, housing and digitalization, with an additional expenditure of 12.4 billion euros by 2024.
"We must respond to the extraordinary situation with extraordinary means," stressed Merkel.