Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, was heckled by opposition MPs during a speech to parliament on Thursday, while taking aim at groups spreading 'lies and disinformation' as the country continues to battle the coronavirus crisis. The speech, which took place the morning after Mrs Merkel announced a range of sweeping reforms to tackle the spread of the pandemic, warned that the German people find themselves in a 'dramatic situation'. On Thursday morning, Germany recorded 16,774 new daily coronavirus infections, the highest number of new cases within a 24-hour period since the pandemic began. In a veiled criticism of the far-right Alternative for Germany ' staunch opponents of the country's lockdown measures ' Mrs Merkel laid out a plea for unity. 'Lies, disinformation, conspiracy theories and hate not only damage democratic debate, but also the fight against the coronavirus' Mrs Merkel said. 'Soothing wishful thinking and populist trivialisation (of the coronavirus) is not only unrealistic, it is irresponsible.' The speech was frequently interrupted by jeers from AfD MPs. Such interjections are rare in German parliament, with house speaker Wolfgang Schuble threatening the hecklers with calls to order and criticising their 'dangerous' behaviour. Click here to read full news..