German Health Minister Jens Spahn warned Germans on Monday about the danger of a second wave of coronavirus. He pushed people in Germany to do everything possible to prevent a further rise in infections.
"We have to try to prevent infections, particularly now in the holiday season," he told reporters. "We don't automatically have to see a second wave in the fall and winter. Together, as a society, we can prevent that, as we did before."
He urged people to abide by social distancing rules and to avoid large gatherings, saying he was particularly concerned after seeing large groups of German holidaymakers on the Spanish island of Mallorca at the weekend.
"I understand the impatience, but where there are parties the infection risk is particularly high," he said.
"Ballermann cannot become a second Ischgl," he added, referring to a nightlife destination popular with Germans in Mallorca. Ischgl is an Austrian ski resort that was one of the first coronavirus hotspots in Europe and .
Germany to strengthen role within WHO
Spahn said that 15.5 million people have now downloaded Germany’s coronavirus warning app and over 500,000 were tested for the virus last week, the highest number since the pandemic began.
The health minister also called for Germany’s role within the World Health Organization (WHO) to be strengthened. He said Germany has contributed over €500 million ($565 million) to the WHO this year, one of the biggest contributors in the world.
US President Donald Trump announced that he will remove the United States from the WHO as soon as possible.
Spahn also warned Germans against organizing their own Oktoberfest celebrations this fall after the official event was canceled.
Germany has been internationally praised for managing to flatten the curve of infections. Just under 200,000 cases have been confirmed and over 9,000 people have died.
ed/sms (dpa, Reuters)