Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

COVID-19 crisis under control in Germany: Official

Health Minister Spahn says coronavirus recoveries surpass new infections, nearly 10,000 intensive care beds available

Ayhan Simsek   | 17.04.2020
COVID-19 crisis under control in Germany: Official

BERLIN

The coronavirus health emergency is brought under control for the time being, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Friday.

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Spahn underlined that number of coronavirus patients has been below those recovered from the virus since Sunday, and hospitals have nearly 10,000 free intensive care beds at the moment.

“As things stand today, the outbreak is again controllable, has become controllable,” Spahn said, stressing that the lockdown measures have helped authorities to significantly reduce new infections, preventing healthcare system from being overburdened.

At the same news conference, Prof. Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), told reporters that their most recent data showed significant progress in slowing of the virus’s spread.

The number of new people infected by each coronavirus patient, the so-called reproduction rate, fell to 0.7, he stressed.

The reproduction rate has been a key figure for the German government, and Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly underlined the importance of getting this rate to 1 or below, before relaxing coronavirus lockdown measures.

Downward trend in new cases

The total number of reported coronavirus cases in Germany has reached 138,221 on Friday, according to data analysis firm Risklayer and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

At least 294 more deaths from the virus were registered over the past 24 hours, bringing the toll to 4,098.

The Robert Koch Institute has reported that nearly 82,000 people in the country have recovered from the virus so far.

Germany has the fifth-highest tally of reported COVID-19 infections in the world, ranking behind the U.S., Spain, Italy, and France. But its death toll remains far lower than other hard-hit countries.

Besides widespread coronavirus testing, Germany has also significantly raised the bed capacity of intensive care units in hospitals: from 28,000 to nearly 40,000.

Since appearing in China last December, the virus has spread to at least 185 countries and regions, according to figures compiled by the U.S.’ Johns Hopkins University.

More than 2.16 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide, with over 146,000 deaths, and over 552,000 recoveries.

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