In a telecast speech being lauded for plain speaking, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged her fellow citizens to suspend all public activities with immediate effect in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19. The disease has infected over 8000 people and counting in Germany and caused 13 deaths so far, according to the World Health Organisation.

In her speech Merkel said that the Covid-19 pandemic is the greatest challenge that Germany has had to face since World War II, Deutsche Welle reported. Germany has closed its borders to citizens from outside the European Union, restricted travel, and closed many public, commercial, and educational spaces, the report added.

“I truly believe that we will succeed in the task before us, so long as all the citizens of this country understand that it is also their task,” Merkel said. “I also want to tell you why we also need your contribution and what each and every person can do to help.”