Germany's coronavirus infections dropped after a spike, and its R0 figure for infections is back below 1, as it grapples with safely getting out of lockdown

·3 min read
germany coronavirus munich
People in Munich, southern Germany, on May 12, 2020, as some shops re-opened. Some are wearing masks.

Andreas Gebert/Reuters

  • Germany announced on Wednesday 798 additional cases of the coronavirus, a lower figure after a worrying spike the day before. 

  • Health officials announced that the country's R0 value has also dropped below 1, according to CNN. A figure of above 1 means the virus is spreading.

  • Germany has had a start-and-stop experience of re-opening, and says it is prepared to put areas back into harsher lockdowns if infections increase too much.

  • Germany has reported a cumulative total of 171,306 cases of the virus and 7,634 deaths as of Wednesday. 

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Germany has announced 798 new cases of the coronavirus, a drop in the number of new infections after a spike the day before. 

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country's agency for disease control and prevention, also announced on Wednesday that the R0 number has dropped below the key threshold of 1 according to Reuters.

The figure is now at 0.94, the officials said. An R0 of 1 means that each person infected with the virus is passing it on to one other person.

If the figure is at exactly 1, the total number of infections should remain steady. At lower levels, infections should decrease, while figures even slightly above 1 can spiral into an exponential spread if left unchecked.

The estimated R0 number had previously been above 1 for three consecutive days, CNN reported

On Tuesday the RKI reported 933 new infections, a worrying spike for the country. Health officials noted that reporting lags could have inflated this figure. 

Germany had seen infections creep back up since Chancellor Angela Merkel further loosened lockdown measures on May 7.

Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel

REUTERS/Michele Tantussi

During that announcement, Merkel pledged to apply an "emergency brake" if the virus was not under control. This is a reimposition of lockdown measures in regions where coronavirus cases occur at more than 5o per 100,000 people for seven days. 

Currently, some shops and schools have reopened, furthering a tentative easing of restrictions that had begun on April 27

Some media outlets in Germany say the country intends to relax its border controls, which were earlier imposed to control the spread of the virus, on Saturday, according to Reuters.

Germany usually has open borders with its neighbors, but at the moment they are either completely closed or heavily restricted, according to Politico.

Germany has reported a cumulative total of 171,306 cases of the virus, making it the eighth worst-affected country in the world.

It has also seen 7,634 deaths, giving it a low mortality rate compared to other countries with similar outbreaks.

This has been attributed to widespread testing — with a capacity of almost 1 million tests per week — and a robust healthcare system, as Business Insider reported.  

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