Thursday 22 August 2019

Health concerns grow as Merkel seen shaking for second time in two weeks

Worries: Angela Merkel suffered a second bout of shaking at the event yesterday. Photo: KAY NIETFELD/AFP/Getty
Worries: Angela Merkel suffered a second bout of shaking at the event yesterday. Photo: KAY NIETFELD/AFP/Getty

Jorg Luyken

Concern was growing yesterday over the health of Angela Merkel after the German chancellor was overcome by a shaking fit for the second time in a little over a week.

Eight days after footage showed Ms Merkel desperately trying to maintain composure as she shook from head to foot at a reception, she has suffered another bout of trembling.

Footage from yesterday morning showed Ms Merkel's legs shaking as she stood through a swearing-in ceremony in Berlin for Christine Lambrecht, the country's new justice minister.

Ms Merkel could be seen clutching her arms as she attempted to control herself while glancing uncomfortably to her side. An aide then offered her a glass of water, which she turned down.

The chancellor looked wobbly throughout the entire video of roughly one minute and 10 seconds, shared by the German Press Association. According to journalists, the 64-year-old quickly regained her composure after the ceremony was over.

Ms Merkel's office immediately moved to dampen speculation the incident was the symptom of an underlying health problem.

"The chancellor is doing well," spokesman Steffen Seibert said, adding Ms Merkel would be flying to Japan later that day to attend the G20 summit in Osaka.

Last week, Ms Merkel was seen shaking during a ceremony to welcome Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president, to Berlin.

The tremors led to immediate concern over the chancellor's health. However, doctors who watched the video said it looked worse than it was.

Several experts dismissed concerns that a serious illness such as Parkinson's disease could be the cause, saying that temperatures of over 30C had likely caused her to become dehydrated.

Ms Merkel also put her convulsions down to dehydration, saying she had drunk too much coffee and too little water prior to the occasion.

A government official said yesterday's episode was more a psychological issue as she tried to avoid a repeat. "There is nothing to worry about," the spokesman said.

This is not the first time Ms Merkel has shown signs of suffering in extreme heat. Several newspapers have reported that during a 2017 summer visit to Mexico she began to shake on a particularly humid day.

But yesterday the direct heat would appear not to have been the cause. Temperatures in Berlin were below 20C, although on Wednesday the capital did set a new heat record for June at 37.5C.

Ms Merkel will fly to Brussels for an EU summit on Sunday where she will try to seal the distribution of the bloc's top jobs for the next five years. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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