Germany will not be able to avoid a second blockage if it is hit by a second wave of coronavirus cases, a leading virologist has warned.
Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit said that "drastic measures" would be on the table again if the German health system were overwhelmed by virus cases – a nightmare scenario that Germany has avoided so far.
Fear of a second wave is increasing in Germany after an increase of 4,127 new cases last week compared to 2,385 two weeks ago.
Experts are concerned because the virus spreads across the country and is not limited to a handful of local clusters. The R rate is now regularly above 1.0.
Germany has suffered four daily jumps from 600 or more coronavirus cases in the past six days after not seeing any since the end of June
The death toll in Germany remains low. Daily deaths have only risen twice in the past three weeks
Schmidt-Chanasit, a virologist at the University of Hamburg, told ARD last night that "the situation is still manageable," but warned that it could "get out of control very quickly."
When asked about a possible second ban, he said: "In the worst case, if we really get a second wave – I define it as overwhelming our healthcare system – we won't be able to avoid very dramatic, very drastic measures. But that's exactly what we want to avoid. & # 39;
Schmidt-Chanasit said there were "many individual herds" of new cases, as opposed to the increase in the past month, which was largely due to a few large groups.
"Now travelers are also joining – there are many clusters that politicians as well as scientists have to react to," he said.
The Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, to which Stuttgart also belongs, has already warned of harsher penalties for people who violate the corona virus rules.
"The virus is no fun," he told the local media, saying that virus cases related to foreign holidays are likely to increase.
Germany recorded 684 new cases today, which means that the number of cases has increased by 600 or more in the past six days after not doing this since June.
Six new deaths have now increased the number to 9,128, and the country's death rate is still far lower than in the UK, Spain, Italy or France.
A health worker with a face mask and protective suit collects samples in a provisional coronavirus test center in Bavaria on Tuesday
The Robert Koch Institute for Diseases (RKI), which gathers the numbers, says the closely observed R rate is currently 1.25.
The number means that all four people who become infected with the virus usually infect another five – which means that the number of cases increases over time.
Angela Merkel previously warned that the German healthcare system could be overwhelmed if the rate was even slightly above 1.
In its daily report, the RKI said the increase in cases was "very worrying" and associated with a number of activities, including vacation, family reunions, and recreational activities.
& # 39; A further worsening of the situation must be avoided. This will only succeed if the entire population continues to work to reduce transmission, ”it says.
Germany was widely praised for dealing with the pandemic after it quickly launched mass tests in the spring.
Blocking the country has never been as severe as in Britain or Spain, but the recent surge has hampered efforts to restore normal life.
Germany was the youngest country yesterday to impose new travel restrictions on Spain, where cases have increased more.
German tourists are now advised not to go on holiday in Catalonia, Aragon and Navarre in northern Spain, but not on the south coast or on the islands.
Passengers are waiting in front of a corona virus test center at Munich Airport on Tuesday after Germany has made controls for people from risk areas compulsory
Catalonia, where the virus appeared, advised four million people in and around Barcelona to stay at home on July 18.
However, the regional government regretted Germany's decision to discourage travel.
Britain has gone even further by banning all of Spain, while France and Norway have also imposed new restrictions.
Germany also differed from the UK in that mandatory airport coronavirus tests were ordered for people returning from risk areas.
Some airports have already started installing test facilities, and controls will become mandatory next week.
"We have to prevent returning travelers from infecting others unnoticed and thus triggering new chains of infection," said Health Minister Jens Spahn.
"I will therefore order mandatory tests for travelers from high-risk areas," he announced on Monday.
After meeting government officials on Monday, Angela Merkel's chief of staff, Helge Braun, said there was "a great willingness to get closer to such mandatory tests."
"From what we've seen in the past few days, with over 800 cases a day in some cases, we have to go back to a situation where we're well below 500," said Braun.
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