Germany's president on Friday reached out to employers to allow their employees to work from home to reduce contacts that might exacerbate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
In televised remarks, along with the head of Germany's trade unions federation and the main employers' association, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said variant strains of the virus first identified in Britain and South Africa have now been detected in individual cases in Germany.
Steinmeier said the fact these variants have been found to be more easily transmissible prompted him to call for workers to refrain from going into the workplace, as every trip on public transportation poses a risk.
While considered Germany’s “highest office,” the role of president in the German government is largely ceremonial. The president is not elected by the general public, but by a committee made of state and federal officials.
Germany’s Robert Koch Institute of disease control reports that, as of Friday, the nation had passed the two million mark of confirmed COVID infections since the start of the pandemic, with 22,368 newly confirmed cases over the last 24 hours. Germany currently has 2,000,958 confirmed cases.
Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to hold talks with the governors of Germany's 16 states on Tuesday to discuss further measures to tackle the pandemic.