Coronavirus: German authorities ‘very concerned’ with growing cases


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Reuters

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Lothar Willer warned that this could be the beginning of a “second wave”

The head of Germany’s Public Health Agency has said that he is “very concerned” with the growing infection in the country.

“We are in the midst of a rapidly evolving epidemic,” Lothar Willer, head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), told reporters.

Mr Wieler said the Germans had become “reckless” and urged people to wear masks and respect social distance and sanitation rules.

The country has recorded 3,611 new infections in the last week.

The warning is as countries across Europe grapple with new infections and the problem of travelers roaming the continent for summer holidays.

On Tuesday, Germany issued a travel warning for three regions in Spain – Aragon, Catalonia and Navarra – which have seen a spike in infections recently.

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This comes after 14 days of quarantine was imposed on all Spain’s prime ministers – what Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called “unjust”.

Germany on Monday announced a schedule of free, mandatory coronavirus testing for passengers returning from a list of high-risk countries. The list currently includes Brazil, Turkey and the US, and officials said it would be updated daily.

What did Mr. Weiler say?

In a press conference on Tuesday, Mr. Weiler first asked people to wear masks if they could not maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 meters (5 feet).

Earlier guidance was to wear masks in public.

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Media captionWhat factors determine the possible second wave of the Kovid-19 transition?

The RKI chief said that the Germans should once again stop spreading the virus “rapidly and uncontrollably” by following measures to cleanse and remove it.

“We do not yet know if this is the start of a second wave but certainly it can be,” Mr Wieler said. “But I am optimistic that if we follow the hygiene rules we can stop it, it is up to us.”

How is the virus spreading in Germany?

In total, 206,242 cases and 9,122 deaths have been reported in Germany.

These numbers – especially the death toll – are lower than in many other European states, and Germany has garnered praise both domestically and internationally for its rapid response to the epidemic and its large-scale testing program.

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But there has been an upsurge in cases in recent times. Newly recorded infections increased by 633 on Tuesday, an increase of 340, almost double of Monday. The country has recorded an average of 557 new infections during the past week, compared to around 350 at the beginning of June.

In addition, with counties across the country, the increase in reporting of new cases is widespread. An RKI official said that only a few weeks ago, about 150 counties reported no new infections compared to only 95 counties.

How are other European countries doing?

On Monday, Belgium reduced the size of its social bubble to five people after an increase in cases.

Antwerp city officials have imposed a one-night curfew on all required employees and mandated that everyone over the age of 12 must wear a mask in public.

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Reuters

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Masks are now mandatory in Antwerp over 12 years old

Spanish authorities are still hoping to reverse or amend their quarantine order in a bid to Britain to save its embattled tourism industry. New infections are higher in the northeast, although its outbreak is under control at the national level, new cases are coming up in some other areas.

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Nations in southeastern Europe are the most affected of the continent.

Kosovo reported a record increase of about 300 new infections on Tuesday, and its public health officials have warned that hospitals and health workers are overwhelmed by the number of cases.

Meanwhile Romania has registered more than 1,000 new cases for the seventh consecutive day. The country now has more than 47,000 infections.

Serbia, Albania and northern Macedonia are also struggling to stop the outbreak.

But Slovenia and Croatia have reported few infections compared to neighboring states, and from Tuesday UK travelers can travel to Slovenia without quarantine when they return.

Meanwhile, in Malta, more than two-thirds of a group of 94 migrants rescued into the Mediterranean by the country’s Coast Guard have now tested positive for the virus. Migrants – believed to be from Eritrea, Morocco and Sudan – will remain in quarantine at a reception center.

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