March 23, 2020 / 3:59 PM / 4 days ago

Merkel's initial coronavirus test came back negative - spokesman

BERLIN (Reuters) - Angela Merkel’s initial test for coronavirus came back negative, a government spokesman said on Monday, adding that the German chancellor would undergo further tests.

Merkel, 65, went into quarantine on Sunday after coming into contact with an infected doctor. German Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz said earlier on Monday that Merkel was healthy but working from home.

“The test was negative,” the government spokesman said. “Further tests will follow.”

Merkel had on Friday afternoon received a vaccine shot against pneumococcus, a pneumonia-causing bacteria, from the doctor and she went into quarantine after learning of his positive test result.

On Sunday Merkel’s chief of staff said the chancellor had only had brief contact with the doctor who later tested positive for coronavirus.

Merkel has already said she will not seek a fifth term as chancellor in federal elections due by October 2021.

She has loomed large on the European stage since 2005, helping guide the EU through the euro zone debt crisis and opening Germany’s doors to migrants fleeing war in the Middle East in 2015, a move that still divides the bloc and her country.

Last year, Merkel suffered several bouts of shaking at public events, sparking speculation about her health.

“I am aware of the responsibility of my office,” she told reporters last July after the tremor episodes. “I behave appropriately as far as my health is concerned ... I look after my health.”

Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Alison Williams

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