'Pandemic is not over yet': German health minister warns against not taking Covid-19 seriously amid upswing in cases

The growth of daily Covid-19 cases in Germany is a sign that the outbreak is far from being over, the nation’s health minister said. He unveiled that people coming from high-risk countries must all prove they don’t have the virus.

The Robert Koch Institute reported 1,045 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, a highest daily increase in three months. Health Minister Jens Spahn cited this alarming figure as the most-recent sign that “the pandemic is not over yet.”  

There is a deceptive feeling that the situation was not that bad in the last few months. It is natural. But we must not forget that we got off much better than many other countries.

Comparing the fight against the coronavirus to a “long-distance run,” Spahn urged to continue observing social distancing rules, as well as paying attention to hygiene and wearing masks. He reiterated that it has been “proven by science” that masks reduce the risk of infection.

Like many European countries, Germany has been easing quarantine restrictions in recent months. When asked if a new lockdown is possible, Spahn told reporters it is better to focus on what can be done to prevent the spread of the disease.

Spahn said that starting from Saturday people coming from countries deemed high-risk must be tested for the coronavirus upon arrival unless they have a new negative test result with them. Otherwise, they would have to be quarantined for two weeks. The rule will also apply to Germans returning from vacation, who will be tested for free.

Germany is considered relatively successful in combatting Covid-19. Officials, however, grew increasingly worried as the number of new cases continued to rise in recent weeks.

On Tuesday, the head of Marburger Bund, the country’s doctors’ union, Susanne Johna told Augsburger Allgemeine that Germany is already experiencing a second “upswing” of cases. The desire to return to normality as quick as possible creates a risk that “we gamble away the successes we have achieved so far,” Johna warned.

Overall, 213,067 people were infected with the coronavirus in Germany since the start of the outbreak, and 9,175 have died, according to the Robert Koch Institute.

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