The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 1,218 on Tuesday according to the country’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI), which monitors the coronavirus. This brings the total confirmed number of infections to 243,599 to date.
Like many EU countries, Germany saw a surge in new cases last month, with a lot of new cases attributed to people coming back from summer vacations and a rise in parties and other gatherings.
However, the government has ruled out another nationwide lockdown, but said it will not loosen regulations any further, and large events remain banned through to the end of the year.
Europe’s largest economy contracted by 9.7% in the second quarter of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019, as coronavirus lockdowns drove economic activity to a record quarterly low.
The government in Berlin waived its constitutional rule against taking on no new debt earlier this year as the pandemic spread rapidly and restrictions were imposed on all sectors of the economy and social life.
Chancellor Angela Merkel warned during her annual summer press conference last week (28 August) that the pandemic was likely to get worse again in the coming months, as people can’t be outside in the fresh air as much.
Merkel described the rise in infections as worrying, adding: “It is serious, it remains serious, and please keep taking it seriously.”
Sat 22 August saw 1,737 new infections recorded, the highest daily spike since April.
Spain, France, Hungary and Turkey have also recorded their highest numbers of daily cases since the spring in recent days, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a resurgence of the disease in Europe.
UK health secretary Matt Hancock claimed Britain was managing to keep the number of new cases “flat” through the test and trace system and local lockdowns. He told The Times that countries in other parts of the world were already experiencing a second spike, adding it was “a very serious threat.”
Official government data released on Friday revealed the UK recorded 1,276 daily confirmed cases of COVID-19, compared with 1,522 a day earlier.
In Germany, Berlin is reeling from mass demonstrations against coronavirus measures over the weekend, when some 38,000 people gathered in the city centre, a mixture of peaceful protestors, conspiracy theorists, and thousands of far-right supporters.
Several hundred of the right-wingers, many from the extremist Reichsburger movement and carrying former German empire flags, tried to storm the Reichstag, the seat of the lower house of parliament in Berlin.
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert on Monday condemned the attempt to storm the parliament as “shameful.”
German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier called them a “right-wing extremist rabble” and said the attempt to break into the Reichstag was an “unbearable attack on the heart of our democracy.”
“We will not tolerate any anti-democratic vilification of the Federal Republic of Germany,” said Steinmeier. “The violent riots on Saturday again made clear that right-wing extremism has deep roots in our society.”