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14 Apr, 2020 10:21

Germany’s drop in Covid-19 cases may only be due to lack of testing at Easter, public health chief warns, amid lockdown debate

Germany’s drop in Covid-19 cases may only be due to lack of testing at Easter, public health chief warns, amid lockdown debate

Germany’s top health official has cautioned that a recent slowdown in new coronavirus infections is likely the result of a temporary decrease in testing. The warning comes as Berlin considers lifting containment measures.

Daily tallies of new coronavirus cases have begun to gradually decline, but the recent figures may be the result of less testing over the Easter holiday, Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch health institute, noted.

"We can therefore not yet conclusively assess whether the number of cases is actually falling," the public health chief argued, adding that Germans should not think that the dangers posed by the virus have passed.

His cautionary tone comes as the German government weighs the possibility of partially lifting its nationwide shutdown after April 19. The German National Academy of Sciences has advocated easing the restrictions, advising that it would be safe to reopen some schools. Shops and restaurants could also begin working again if Germans adhere to social distancing rules. The academy also urged the government to introduce a new requirement for citizens to wear face masks in public.

Also on rt.com Most Germans oppose lifting restrictions as Merkel's govt set to talk loosening Covid-19 lockdown

Wieler has expressed support for some of the academy’s suggestions, but has called for only older students to go back to school, as they would be more likely to follow public hygiene regulations.

Germany's number of confirmed coronavirus infections has risen by 2,082 to 125,098, according to Wieler’s institute, which is Germany's official public health agency. The reported death toll has risen by 170 to 2,969.

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