The wait is over: Angela Merkel has appeared for the first time wearing a mask in an official photograph.
The German chancellor, who sported a black mask complete with the logo for her country’s current EU presidency, had been quizzed earlier in the week on why she hadn’t been seen more often with her mouth and nose covered as required under coronavirus rules.
The picture of masked Merkel was taken on Thursday evening.
She is standing alongside the state premier of Saxony-Anhalt, Reiner Haselhoff, a fellow member of the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU).
On Monday, Merkel defended the fact that she is rarely seen wearing a mask in response to a journalist’s question at a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron.
“If I follow the distancing rules, I don’t need a mask. And if I’m not following the distancing rules and, for example, am going grocery shopping, then we don’t run into each other, obviously,” she replied.
The chancellor then said: “There will be other occasions where I will surely still be wearing a mask.”
While Merkel appeared to be sticking to the rules, members of the Bundestag parliament set a poorer example while voting on a key bill for Germany’s coal phase-out yesterday.
Because the first vote had not delivered a clear majority, lawmakers had to file into three rooms – for yes, no, and abstain – in order to approve the legislation.
Vice-chairman of the Bundestag Wolfgang Kubicki had to repeatedly urge his colleagues to keep the required 1.5 distance from each other, and many – including members of the CDU and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party – were seen without masks on.
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