Germany has taken major steps to ease its month-long coronavirus lockdown as shops and schools are allowed to gradually reopen. Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the very first phase of the pandemic is “behind” the nation now. However, Lars Schaade, the Vice President of the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases, a federal public health body, has warned the European leader a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic could hit Germany before autumn.
At a press conference in Berlin, he said: “The second wave of the virus and the increasing numbers of people infected could possibly happen with further easing of restrictions.
“We have the situation in our own hands, whether the second wave happens and when.
“The confirmed fatality rate remains high while there are still a lot of registered outbreaks in nursing homes and hospitals, where the most vulnerable groups are.
“Of course it’s possible that the number of cases can go up again beforehand and that we get a second wave around autumn – that is when human behaviour becomes relaxed again so that there is a higher number of transmissions.”
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Mr Schaade continued: “We are at a new phase in the epidemic, also socially speaking.
“We are still at the beginning of the pandemic, the virus is still in Germany. We have a new normality.
“Unfortunately, we must expect a further increase in deaths.
“The goal is still to keep the number of cases as low as possible.”
BBC Berlin correspondent Jenny Hill revealed the challenges facing Ms Merkel.
She said: “It’s going to be difficult, she’s under a lot of pressure from industry.
“She’s concerned about the economy. We heard yesterday that Germany is facing the worst recession since the Second World War.
“I think the view of the German Government, in particular that of Angela Merkel, is that Germany has to be extremely cautious about the next steps it takes back towards just a semblance of normal daily life.
“They Government are keeping an extremely close eye on infection rates here.”