A GERMAN state finance minister has killed himself after despairing over how to handle the coronavirus crisis which has sparked a global economic meltdown.
Thomas Schaefer, a 54-year-old married father-of-two, was found dead on Saturday in Hochheim, near Frankfurt in Germany’s Hesse region.
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State governor Volker Bouffier linked Schaefer’s death to the virus crisis on Sunday, saying had become consumed with how to handle the coronavirus crisis which has sent global markets into freefall.
He said Schaefer – the Minister of Finance of Hesse – was particularly concerned about “whether it would be possible to succeed in fulfilling the population’s huge expectations, particularly of financial help.”
“I have to assume that these worries overwhelmed him,” Bouffier said.
“He apparently couldn’t find a way out. He was in despair and left us.”
He apparently couldn’t find a way out. He was in despair and left us.
State Governor Volker Bouffier
Bouffier added: “We are in shock, we are in disbelief and above all we are immensely sad.”
Authorities said witness statements and observations at the scene had led them to believe the minister had died by suicide.
Schaefer was a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and had held his position for a decade.
Germany’s federal and state governments have drawn up huge aid packages to cushion the blow of largely shutting down public life to slow the spread of COVID-19.
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Meanwhile, the German Chancellor has been in quarantine for the past week after a doctor who gave her a vaccine tested positive for coronavirus.
Ms Merkel is now working home for the time being, according to her spokesman.
Merkel has expressed her gratitude to Germans who are following the rules on social distancing, saying it was important to remain at least 1.5 meters (about five feet) apart to reduce the likelihood of infection.
“Thank you. I know it means making sacrifices, both personal and economic,” she said.
“I am very moved that so many people are obeying the rules. That’s how we show that we care for older people and the sick, for whom the virus is the most dangerous. In short, that’s how we save lives.
“The great aim is to gain time in the fight against the virus.”
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If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123, or visit Mind’s website.
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