A lockdown that began in December is showing positive effects, but Germany's rate of new infections is still too high, Lother Wieler, the president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases, said on Friday.
"We are standing possibly at a turning point again," he said, citing the spread of the coronavirus variant that was first detected in Britain.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn also said on Friday the coronavirus infection rate was stagnating compared to the levels it dropped to at previous weeks.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases for Germany increased by 9,113 to 2,369,719, according to the RKI. Fatalities rose by 508 to 67,206, the institute reported.
Coronavirus 'doesn't just give up'
Amid repeated calls for the government to lift the lockdown, Spahn urged the public to remain cautious, adding that the coronavirus "doesn't just give up."
"There are rising demands to end the lockdown and this is possible, but we need to be careful in order not to jeopardize our achievements," Spahn said on Friday.
The RKI reported on Friday a slight drop in COVID-19 infections over seven days, with 56.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 57.1 the day before, according to the German Press Agency (DPA).
Germany's federal government aims for a level of infections below 50. States cas move towards easing the lockdown when the level remains under 35.
Germany to speed up vaccine delivery
The German government plans on doubling the number of vaccinations in the next weeks, from about 140,000 shots per day currently, the health minister said.
Spahn said Germany will set up a task force to boost investment in vaccine production. He confirmed that the government has assigned a special adviser to coordinate with manufacturers and facilitate faster delivery of vaccinations to Germany.
Germany has tried to step up its vaccination plans after receiving criticism for its slow rollout.
Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged that Germany's vaccine rollout had been a "disappointment" as she vowed to improve it.
At least 1.5 million people have received the first shot of the coronavirus vaccine in Germany, as the country administrated about 3.8 million doses since December.
Germany has recorded almost two-point-four million cases and over sixty-seven-thousand deaths from the coronavirus.
fb/sms (AP, dpa, Reuters)