Hotspots have been detected around Germany, including at a farm in Mamming, Bavaria where around 170 seasonal workers are confirmed to have contracted Covid-19.
On Sunday night, Germany's Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control said in its daily report that the situation was “worrying”.
In the past weeks, the number of districts reporting no Covid-19 cases over a period of seven days “has decreased continuously,” said the RKI. “In parallel, the Covid-19 incidence has risen in many federal states. This situation is worrying.”
The number of new infections on Sunday was down to 305, after 781 new cases on Saturday and 814 on Friday.
However, the decline is probably down to a “delay in testing and reporting” which is often observed during weekends, said the RKI.
“Previously, the number had been around 500 cases per day, at times significantly less,” said an RKI spokesperson on Friday.
In total, there have been 205,269 confirmed infections since the start of the epidemic, and more than 9,100 deaths. Around 190,000 people have recovered.
The RKI said current coronavirus-related outbreaks are happening in various settings, including meat-processing plants, facilities for asylum-seekers and refugees, nursing homes and hospitals as well as in the context of families or religious events.
'The situation must not get worse'
Experts say the increase is down to several smaller outbreaks.
“The increasing number of positive tests and the spread of new infections are critical signals,” virologist Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit from the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg told Spiegel Online.
“There is not one central focus, but a general increase. The chains of infection are therefore more difficult to trace and less easy to interrupt.”
According to the RKI, the spike in cases has affected many federal states. However, more than 60 percent of the newly reported cases are due to increases in North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, said the RKI.
Nationwide, there are smaller incidents in different administrative districts, which are connected to larger celebrations in the family setting, leisure activities, jobs, but also in community and health facilities.
In addition, Covid-19 cases are increasingly being identified among people returning from travelling outside of Germany.
“This development is very concerning and will continue to be monitored very closely by the RKI,” said the disease control agency. “A further worsening of the situation must be avoided at all costs.”
The RKI said this will only work “if the entire population continues to be committed, for example, by consistently observing rules of distance and hygiene – also in outdoor settings, airing indoor areas and, where necessary, wearing a face mask correctly”.
Meanwhile, Saxony's state premier Michael Kretschmer said it was clear the second coronavirus wave had already reached Germany – and he is now calling for mandatory tests for everyone returning to the country after travelling.
“The second corona wave has already been here for a long time. We have new centres of infection every day, which could turn into very high numbers,” Kretschmer told German newspaper the Rheinische Post.
On Monday, Bavaria state premier Markus Söder said: “Corona is not over and does not forgive any carelessness: we have to be careful that a second wave does not creep in.”
Corona ist nicht vorbei und verzeiht keinen Leichtsinn: Wir müssen aufpassen, dass sich keine zweite Welle einschleicht. Unvernunft, mangelnde Vorsicht oder bewusste Verstöße tragen leider dazu bei. Vorsicht muss oberstes Gebot sein. #corona
— Markus Söder (@Markus_Soeder) July 27, 2020
Eastern and western Germany facing crisis together
Kretschmer said the pandemic was having another interesting social side effect – it has brought east and west Germany closer together.
“The corona pandemic is the first central shared crisis experience in Germany,” he said. Thirty years after reunification, he said, there are no differences. Coronavirus is “the best proof that this country has grown together”.