Berlin: Germany cannot allow other countries to "exclusively" acquire the results of its researchers, the country's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the Funke media group on Monday.
On Sunday, German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported that US President Donald Trump had attempted to lure scientists from German company CureVac, which is researching a coronavirus vaccine, to the United States.
"German researchers play a leading role in developing medication and vaccines as part of global cooperation networks," Maas said. He has also discussed this matter with his colleagues from Canada, the Republic of Korea, Brazil and Australia, Xinhua news agency reported.
CureVac has confirmed that "internal efforts are focused on the development of a coronavirus vaccine." However, the German company abstained from commenting on speculations and "rejects allegations about offers for the acquisition of the company or its technology."
"Each country tries to protect its citizens as best as possible," Maas said, adding that it is important that the measures against the pandemic are "coordinated well" within the European Union (EU) so that supply chains are not cut off.
"In the crisis, we feel more than ever how much we depend on each other," stressed Maas. "That is why we need more, not less, cooperation right now."
On the other hand, more deaths and confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now been reported in the rest of the world than in China, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said, noting that a rapid escalation of the novel coronavirus cases has been reported over the past one week.
According to WHO, as of Monday morning, a total of more than 83,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported outside China, exceeding the cumulative number of infections in China, and over 6,400 patients have died of COVID-19 worldwide, Xinhua reported.
"We have seen a rapid escalation in social distancing measures, like closing schools, cancelling sporting events and other gatherings," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a daily briefing here.
However, Tedros warned escalation in testing, isolation and contact tracing is not urgent enough, stressing these measures are the backbone of the COVID-19 response.
The most effective way to prevent infections and save lives is breaking the chains of COVID-19 transmission, said Tedros, highlighting the necessity of testing and isolating cases in response to the pandemic.
"You cannot fight a fire blindfolded and we cannot stop this pandemic if we don't know who is infected," he said, calling for every suspected case testing.
Moreover, Tedros said, "WHO advises that all confirmed COVID-19 cases, even mild cases, should be isolated in health facilities to prevent transmission."
He added countries and regions, which have exceeded their capacity to care for mild cases in dedicated health facilities, should prioritise older patients and those with underlying conditions.