As many as "60 to 70 per cent" of Germans will be infected with the deadly coronavirus, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned at a news conference in Berlin, as the contagion continues its outbreak throughout Europe.
Merkel added that since there is no cure for the virus the focus has to be on slowing its spread.
"When the virus is out there, the population has no immunity and no therapy exists, then 60 to 70 per cent of the population will be infected," Merkel told a news conference.
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"The process has to be focused on not overburdening the health system by slowing the virus's spread ... It's about winning time."
Health Minister Jens Spahn pointed out during a parliamentary group meeting of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party that 80 per cent of all infected patients would have almost no symptoms.
Up to 30 countries in Europe have infections transmitting between humans, the World Health Organisation reported.
Europe has more than 17,000 cases and over 700 deaths in the continent alone.
Merkel has been criticised for her handling of the coronavirus outbreak, with Bild calling it a "corona chaos": "No appearances, no speech, no leadership in the crisis", it wrote.
Spahn has led the response and said earlier that sealing Germany's borders to prevent the virus spreading would not work.
Germany had reported 1296 cases of the virus and two deaths, the Robert Koch Institute said late on Tuesday.
Germany and Spain have seen huge spikes in the number of infected patients, while the UK's toll has risen eight-fold in the space of a week.