(Berlin) Angela Merkel said on Friday that the slowdown in the spread of the new coronavirus currently seen in Germany brings “little hope”, while considering any relaxation of the restrictions as premature.
France Media Agency
“It's true the latest figures from the Robert Koch Institute, as high as they are, very cautiously bring some hope,” said the Chancellor in her weekly podcast.
The president of the Institute, Lothar Wieler reported on Friday a slowdown in the spread of COVID – 19, a result according to him of restrictive measures which are starting to bear fruit in the leading European economy.
“We see that the spread of the virus is slowing down […] We see that it works,” he said at a press conference.
For a few days, a person carrying the virus has been infecting on average only another person, he said, and this “reproduction rate” seems to be “stabilizing”. In recent weeks, five or even seven people were infected on average by a single individual carrying COVID – 19.
“If this rate drops below one”, in other words if a person infects less than another person on average, “then the epidemic will slowly decrease. This is our goal, “he added, saying he hoped to achieve it” in the days to come “and urging the Germans to continue to observe the rules of containment.
“There will be an after”
The Chancellor also firmly rejected at this stage any loosening of the restrictive measures put in place in the country to fight the epidemic.
“It is undoubtedly too early to see […] a sure trend, and also far too early to relax […] the strict rules we have set for ourselves,” she insisted.
“There will be an after,” promised the Chancellor, herself released Friday from 14 quarantine days after being in contact with a doctor who tested positive. She had passed three virus tests, all negative, but decided to complete the recommended time for complete containment.
“There will be other Easter celebrations where we can wish each other” Happy Easter “without restrictions,” she said.
Germany has not decreed strict containment like France or Italy, but all schools and most stores are closed. Everyone is invited to work at home when possible and gatherings of more than two people in public space are prohibited.
All of these measures are in effect at least until 19 April.
The head of the Robert Koch Institute also insisted on the need to observe strict hygiene and social distancing rules, and stressed that wearing a cloth mask could “reduce the risk to contaminate other people “, even if the” wearer of the mask will not be protected himself “.
According to the latest official assessment of the Institute, the first European economy counted 79 696 officially identified cases of coronavirus, and 1017 Death.
M. Wieler warned that the death toll would increase further, and that he was probably even “underestimated,” noting that it was not possible to test each of the dead.
Although the death rate has increased to 1.2%, Germany is more resilient in this area than its European neighbors.