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Corona crisis: RKI: Measures having an impact but still no all-clear

Corona crisis : RKI: Measures having an impact but still no all-clear

Germany is eagerly awaiting an assessment: Are the strict measures to contain the coronavirus working? The Robert Koch Institute has released some initial findings.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Germany, the steps taken to contain the coronavirus pandemic are now showing measurable effects.

On average in the last several days, one infected person has only passed on the virus to one other person, said RKI President Lothar Wieler. In recent weeks, that number had been one infected person passing on the virus to five or even seven other persons.

It means that the rate at which the pandemic is spreading has slowed down for now. However, the new data are not a reason to signal an all-clear: the average rate of transmission has to be one person infecting fewer than one other persons for the pandemic to slowly subside.

"We must get under one. I hope that we will succeed in the next few days," said Wieler. At the moment, seven to eight percent of the 350,000 tests per week in Germany are positive.

As expected, the mortality rate in Germany among Covid-19 patients rose within a few days - from 0.8 to now 1.2 percent. Wieler believes that the death rate is underestimated. He said that not all people who died had been tested beforehand. And the virus is not always detectable in the autopsy material. "I assume that we have more deaths than are officially counted," he said. The death rate will continue to rise - how much is unclear, he said.

It is also not yet possible to say with certainty whether the increased capacity of intensive care beds for Covid-19 patients in Germany will be sufficient in the near future, said Wieler. At the moment, he personally does not believe that this is the case.

In Germany, more than 80,500 coronavirus cases had been registered by Friday morning (on the previous day as of 10:15 a.m. it was more than 73,900). These figures were reached in an analysis by the German Press Agency (dpa), which takes into account the latest figures from the German states. At least 1,022 people infected with Sars-CoV-2 have died so far nationwide, according to the figures.

The RKI president emphasized that it is still very important to observe the rules of distance and hygiene. He appealed to public transportation companies to increase the frequency of buses and trains and to use more train cars. Comparative data has so far shown that mobility in cities - which varies greatly from region to region - has decreased by up to 40, sometimes even 50 percent.

According to Google data, a good two thirds fewer people are using trains and buses right now in Germany. Most recently, around half as many customers have made trips to pharmacies and grocery stores compared to at the beginning of the year. This comes from an analysis of anonymous movement data from the firm Freitag.

The National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina is considering a relaxation of measures in the fight against the corona pandemic after the Easter holidays. It is conceivable, for example, that bans on contact could be enforced less strictly if other measures are observed, according to a statement published on Friday.

(Orig. text: dpa / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)