Coronavirus deaths in Germany top 1,000 as officials say infection rate is slowing

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Coronavirus deaths in Germany top 1,000 as officials say infection rate is slowing
A sign in Frankfurt reads 'keep distance, stay at home and stay healthy'. Photo: DPA

Measures taken by officials to slow the spread of coronavirus are starting to show effect, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control said on Friday. It came as deaths topped 1,000 in Germany.


"We are seeing that the spread of the virus is getting slower... it's working," said RKI president Lothar Wieler, stressing that restrictions on public life "need to be maintained" and it was too early to hail victory.

Wieler warned, however, that the number of infections and deaths due to coronavirus will continue to increase.

During the press conference on Friday morning, Wieler also spoke out on the debate about wearing protective face masks.

As of Friday, Germany had more confirmed coronavirus cases than China, making it the fifth most affected country in the world.

At 12 noon, there were more than 84,700 confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.


There have also been more than 1,100 deaths, with increasingly more cases being reported in old people's homes. More than 23,700 people are reported to have fully recovered.


'More people will die'

Wieler said the average age of coronavirus patients in Germany is now 48-years-old, with men and women being affected almost equally.

The death rate has risen to 1.2 percent from just under one percent. "We must assume that more people will die and that this rate will continue to rise," Wieler said. However, he was unable to say how much numbers would increase by.

Wieler also commented on the subject of protective face masks. 

This week Jena became the first German city to announce it was to introduce compulsory masks. On Wednesday, the RKI updated its website to say that more widespread use could help slow the coronavirus spread.


Experts from the public health organisation now say that as a precautionary measure to help prevent the risk of transmission, people without coronavirus symptoms should consider wearing a protective face mask.

However, on Friday Wieler said the RKI had not changed its stance.

"In order to protect yourself and others from infection, the most important thing is to keep your distance," he said.

Protective masks "could help to protect others. But they do not help to protect the mask wearer himself," he added.

"If you are ill, please do not go shopping – even with a textile mask," he said. The worst thing that could happen is that masks would provide "false security," he added.

"We always had the same strategy," said Wieler when asked about any changes in strategy in Germany, adding that it was about "slowing down the spread".


Age not only factor

Worldwide there have been more than 53,000 deaths from the illness. More than 95 percent of those who have died from the virus in Europe are over 60-years-old and of those, more than half are over 80-years-old.

Yet age is not the only risk factor that can lead to a serious form of the illness, said Hans Kluge, World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Europe.  

"The mere idea that Covid-19 only affects older people is factually incorrect," said Kluge at a press conference in Copenhagen that was broadcast on the Internet. "Young people are not invincible."

With reporting by AFP


Comments (1)

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Anonymous 2020/04/04 13:36
I didn't get it about masks. Are they available in drag stores? Should people make masks themselves? Isn't there still a shortage of masks in clinics?

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