Germany’s New Coronavirus Infections Close to Four-Month High

Germany’s new coronavirus cases increased at a pace close to Saturday’s four-month high, while the infection rate fell below a key benchmark of 1.0.

There were 1,628 new infections in the 24 hours through Tuesday morning, taking the total to 236,122. The daily gain compared with 633 on Monday and 1,737 on Saturday, which was the most since late April. There was one fatality, lifting the overall number of deaths to 9,276.

German cases have ticked up in recent weeks, mirroring a trend across Europe, with health officials blaming the increase on social gatherings and travelers returning from abroad.

Bavarian Premier Markus Soeder warned Tuesday that Germany risks a return to the peak levels of daily new cases close to 7,000 seen at the end of March and beginning of April. He ruled out easing restrictions on movement and social gatherings.

“The numbers are worrying and it’s clear that the situation isn’t going to get easier,” Soeder said in a video message posted on Twitter. “Right now it’s not about loosening the reins but tightening them. There is no reason to panic but there is to be greatly concerned.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold talks with Soeder and his regional counterparts on Thursday to discuss Germany’s strategy to contain the virus.

On Monday, federal and regional health officials said they plan to scrap a requirement for people returning to Germany from high-risk areas to be tested for the coronavirus as capacity is stretched.

Travelers will still be subject to a two-week quarantine, which can be ended after five days if a test result shows they don’t have the virus. The changes will likely take effect in mid-September or early October.

Germany’s reproduction factor -- the average number of people infected by one person with the virus -- fell to 0.98 on Monday from 1.08 the day before, according to the latest estimate from the Robert Koch Institute.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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