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Germany sees signs of coronavirus curve 'flattening'

November 12, 2020

The country's disease control center says there are signs that the spread of COVID-19 is slowing. But the head of the Robert Koch Institute has urged Germans to stick to social distancing and mask-wearing rules.

Intensive care patient in Berlin
Image: Kay Nietfeld/dpa/picture alliance

The surge in coronavirus infections in Germany appears to be slowing, the country's disease control center said Thursday.

The key reproduction figure has fallen below 1 to 0.89, according to the Berlin-based Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

It means that 100 people are infecting 89 others: a sign that the new infections are falling.

"The curve is flattening," said RKI head Lothar Wieler, showing "we are not helpless against this virus."

He added that restrictions such as social distancing and mask wearing can help halt the march of COVID-19.

"We must prevent the situation from deteriorating," Wieler said, stressing Germany’s aim is to bring infection numbers down to a level that the healthcare system can cope with.

What is the current situation in Germany?

Germany reported 21,866 new infections over the last 24 hours, according to RKI data released on Thursday. The total number of cases now stands at 727,553 with a death toll of 11,982.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that only when 60 to 70% of the population has achieved immunity can COVID-19 be deemed to have been "more or less overcome."

Earlier this month, the German government imposed new lockdown measures to slow the spread of the virus.

Ministers ordered the closure of restaurants, bars, leisure, and cultural centers. Schools and daycare centers remain open.

Berlin under 'lockdown light'

How close are we to a vaccine?

On Monday, hopes were raised about a possible vaccine that was developed by German firm BioNTech together with its US partner Pfizer. The companies say their vaccine had an efficiency rate of more than 90%.

The European Commission approved a contract with the firms on Wednesday, guaranteeing that the bloc will receive up to 300 million of doses of the experimental coronavirus vaccine.

"This vaccine has a lot of advantages, for example, it can be produced on a large scale in a very short time," Peter Liese, coordinator of the European Parliament's Committee on Public Health, told DW." That will be important also for the rest of the world when we want to vaccinate not only Europe and the US, but also, for example, the Western Balkans or Africa."

jf/rt (dpa, AFP)