On Friday RKI president Lothar Wieler said that he expected the more contagious British mutant to gain the upper hand soon.
“It is foreseeable that B.1.1.7 will soon be the predominant variant in Germany,” Wieler said at a press conference in Berlin. “Then it will be even more difficult to keep the virus in check.”
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The variant discovered in the U.K. is “even more contagious and even more dangerous,” he said. Recently German Health Minister Jens Spahn said that the variant accounted for about one fifth of new cases in Germany.
The number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days (7-day incidence) has risen again, and too many deaths with or from the virus are still being recorded – or 264 in the past 24 hours as of Friday morning, Wieler said.
According to RKI data from Friday, there were 10,580 new coronavirus infections within one day in Germany. Exactly one week ago, the daily figure had been 9,997 new infections.
The seven-day incidence was 65.4 nationwide on Friday morning, according to the RKI, up slightly from around 64 the previous week.
The common goal, he said, is a spring with as few new cases, severe courses of the virus, and deaths as possible. “We can achieve that,” he added.
He called for people to continue adhering to coronavirus measures – many which are being relaxed as of next Monday March 8th – and to take advantage of vaccines being offered.
“The vaccines and everyone who’s getting vaccinated are showing us the way out of this pandemic,” said Wieler.
Spahn added that there would be “more than enough rapid tests,” for regular Covid-19 testing, adding that many states are setting up centres as of Monday where free, government funded tests are available.
As of Monday, all German residents will qualify for one free test per week, said Spahn.
Furthermore, drugstores and supermarkets around the country will soon begin selling at-home tests, starting with discounter Aldi on Saturday.
Light at the end of the tunnel?
The current coronavirus figures are significantly lower than they were earlier in the winter. Four weeks ago on February 5th Germany had a 7-day infection rate of 79.9.
The peak of 1,244 newly reported deaths was reached on January 14th. The highest number of new infections registered within 24 hours was 33,777 on December 18th.
On Wednesday Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s 16 state premieres hammered out a five-step plan to slowly reopen public life in Germany, largely dependent on new case numbers.
Starting on Monday, flower shops, home appliance stores and bookstores will be able to reopen their doors under strict restrictions.
Two households of up to five people, not including children under 14, are allowed to meet.
Keep in check – im Zaum halten
Trend reversal – (die) Trendumkehr
Foreseeable – absehbar
take advantage – wahrnehmen
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