German Virus Cases Rise the Least This Month as Curbs Are Eased

(Bloomberg) --

The number of coronavirus cases in Germany increased by the smallest amount this month as the country starts to gradually loosen restrictions on public life.

There were 1,323 new infections in the 24 hours through Tuesday morning, taking the total to 147,065, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Fatalities rose by 220, the most in three days, to 4,862. Some 95,200 people have recovered from the disease, more than any other nation.

German Virus Cases Rise the Least This Month as Curbs Are Eased

Angela Merkel warned on Monday that the public debate about easing preventative measures brought in last month risks sparking a new wave of infections. In a closed-door meeting of her Christian Democratic Union party, the chancellor made it clear that her government doesn’t plan to introduce any further restrictions, though the option remains on the table.

Starting this week, Germany is relaxing some curbs on daily life while leaving most of the restrictions in place into May. Smaller shops can start serving customers again, and schools will gradually reopen with some students taking exams allowed to return.

Germany is among the first countries in Europe to cautiously revive business activity as the pandemic continues to shutter factories, restaurants and shops from Madrid to Prague.

Merkel has identified the reproduction factor -- known by epidemiologists as R-naught -- as a means of gauging how successfully countries have kept the virus in check and how much stress it could place on health services.

Germany’s R0 rose to 0.9 on Monday, from 0.8 on Saturday, according to the latest situation report from the country’s public health authority. That means that each person with the virus infects an average of 0.9 other people.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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