Angela Merkel has made her first public appearance donning a face covering on Friday after defending herself against accusations of hypocrisy earlier this week for not wearing one.
The German Chancellor entered the upper house of parliament, Bundesrat, wearing a black face mask. The covering was marked with EU2020.de, a website dedicated to Germany’s six-month presidency of the European Union which began on Wednesday.
On Monday, she was asked by a reporter during a news conference why she had never been seen wearing a mask in public.
Ms Merkel replied she did not need to wear a mask while observing social distancing rules, but did so when she could not, such as during private shopping trips when she was not in the public eye.
“But I won’t tell you where I go shopping,” she joked.
The chancellor’s popularity has surged over her handling of the coronavirus crisis and Germany has fared better than many of its European neighbours, with 196,000 cases and 9,063 deaths.
Widespread testing and relatively relaxed lockdown restrictions allowed Germany to continue some social and industrial activity during the crisis, alongside significant stimulus packages.
Ms Merkel called for a speedy agreement on a coronavirus recovery fund to the EU, which is currently in negotiations over a proposed €750 billion economic stimulus and investment program to help the bloc’s economic recovery from the pandemic.
The package, proposed by the European Commission, requires all 27 member states to agree before it can take effect.
According to Deutsche Welle, Ms Merkel said on Thursday she will go to Brussels on 17 July “with the will to strike an agreement”.
Additional reporting by Reuters