Angela Merkel is in quarantine! But that in itself is nothing to worry about. It’s not as if Germany has suddenly become a rudderless ship.
Nor will it be rendered leaderless if the chancellor tests positive for COVID-19. In the best case scenario, Merkel can continue in charge of government as long as she feels up to it.
In the event that she becomes too ill to work, her cabinet would continue to function without her. There are plans for such an event, too.
Article 69 of the Basic Law, or constitution, features a simple sentence: “The federal chancellor nominates a minister from the cabinet as deputy.”
Currently, that deputy is Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. The Social Democrat also stands in for the chancellor when she is in full health but absent.
A typical example would be an official visit abroad. In such cases, the vice chancellor chairs cabinet meetings, which usually take place on Wednesdays.