German Chancellor Merkel's potential successor, Friedrich Merz, has confirmed that he has tested positive for the new coronavirus infection.
"The test that was carried out on Sunday is positive. I will be in quarantine at home until the end of next week," Merz told dpa on Tuesday.
Earlier, the CDU postponed a conference that was planned for 25 April to choose a new leader after Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said last month she won't run for the post.
Merz already served as the leader of the CDU/CSU group in the Bundestag. In 2018, he lost the election by a small margin to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
Meanwhile, the Robert Koch Institute, Germany's disease control authority, has raised the coronavirus risk level for the country to "high," President Lothar Wieler said Tuesday.
"We will today change the public health risk assessment. Starting today, we will consider it as 'high.' The reason is simple: you see the dynamics," he said at a press conference.
The institute reported 6,012 infection cases and 13 virus-related deaths on Monday. The number of infections rose 6.9 percent from the day before, Wieler said. He admitted that German media were reporting higher tallies but said that the institute relied on confirmed data.