German New Virus Infections Increase by the Most in Seven Days

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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased at a quicker rate for a third day and by the most in seven days as the nation prepares for a relaxation of some restrictions on public life.

There were 3,699 new infections in the 24 hours through Saturday, taking the total to 141,397, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The pace of increase in new cases had declined steadily for six days until Thursday from a peak of 5,633 on April 9.

The number of German fatalities rose by 300 to 4,352, while 83,114 people have recovered from the disease, more than in any other country, including China where the outbreak originated.

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Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday announced tentative steps to begin returning Europe’s biggest economy to normal, while leaving most of the restrictive measures brought in last month in place for the time being. Some smaller shops will be allowed to start serving customers again next week, and schools will gradually reopen in early May.

Germany has the fourth-highest number of cases in Europe behind Spain, Italy and France. Around 60,000 people have died from the virus in those three nations combined.

Merkel has singled out the reproduction factor — known by epidemiologists as R-naught — as an important means of gauging how successful countries have been at keeping the virus in check.

Germany’s latest R0 was unchanged at 0.7 as of Friday, according to a dailysituation report from the country’s public health authority. This means that each person with the virus infects an average of 0.7 other people, down from 0.9 on Wednesday.

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