Merkel criticises populists who say coronavirus is harmless

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wears a face mask as she attends a session of the German lower house of parliament Bundestag, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Berlin, Germany, October 29, 2020. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - Populists who purport the coronavirus is harmless are dangerous and irresponsible, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, a day after she announced a circuit break lockdown, adding the pandemic is a challenge for the democratic system.

“It is only with solidarity and transparency that we will be able to confront the pandemic,” she said.

Writing by Madeline Chambers and Sabine Siebold; Editing by Michelle Adair