There is no handshake for Merkel since the cases of coronavirus in Germany reach 150

BERLIN: the interior minister rejected the chancellor Angela Merkel The attempt to shake his hand on Monday as the number of new cases in the country increased to 150 with Berlin reporting his first infection.

When Merkel reached out to greet Horst Seehofer at a meeting on migration in Berlin, he smiled and held both hands to himself.

They both laughed and Merkel then raised her hand in the air before taking a seat.

Health experts have recommended avoiding handshakes as a way to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

There are now 150 confirmed cases in Germany, Lothar Weiler of the Robert Koch Institute's disease control agency said Monday, compared with 129 the previous day.

The alert level has risen from low to moderate to moderate, Weiler said, and authorities said there was no need for drastic measures such as closing borders to stop contagion.

It has now been extended to 10 of the 16 states in Germany, with more than half of the cases confirmed in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The most populous state in Germany emerged as an access point after an infected couple attended carnival celebrations there, infecting dozens of people.

Amid growing fears about contagion, disinfectants, hand sanitizers and other protective products have been sold in many German stores.

In Lower Saxony, 1,200 protective face masks were stolen from a city in Sulingen, near Bremen, the DPA news agency reported on Monday, citing local police.

The hospital reported the theft after a stock review revealed that masks were missing in a warehouse.

They were probably stolen on Wednesday or Thursday last week, police said. Germany has canceled several important meetings in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus, including this week's ITB travel fair in Berlin.

Health Minister Jens Spahn emphasized on Monday that it was too early to say if more public events would be canceled.