Coronavirus: Germany infection rate rises as lockdown eases

(BBC) – Coronavirus infections are rising in Germany, official data shows, just days after the country eased its lockdown restrictions.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s reproduction rate – the number of people each confirmed patient infects – is now above 1.

This means the number of infections is now rising in the country.

The report came as thousands of Germans gathered on Saturday calling for a total end to the lockdown.

Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a broad relaxation of national restrictions on Wednesday after talks with the leaders of Germany’s 16 states.

All shops are allowed to reopen, pupils will gradually return to class and the Bundesliga – Germany’s top football league – will restart as soon as next weekend.

But there were protests across the country on Saturday, as some called for measures to be lifted even quicker.

Germany has the seventh-highest number of confirmed cases in the world, with latest RKI data on Sunday showing the reported infected tally at 169,218 and a reported death toll of 7,395.

What did the report say?

The report from the public health agency released on Saturday said the reproduction rate was estimated at 1.1.

While this estimate involves “a degree of uncertainty”, the rise in the number requires “a close monitoring of the situation in the coming days”.

Germany has won praise for its response to the outbreak. Mass testing and effective lockdown restrictions have helped keep the death toll far lower than in other European countries.