German police, meanwhile, said more than 130 people were detained when protests turned violent in Berlin and other cities on Saturday. Thousands took to the streets across the country to demand the lockdown, which has been in place since mid-March, be lifted even quicker.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s federal disease control and prevention agency, said in its daily bulletin Saturday that the country’s reproduction (R) rate, which measures the number of people each confirmed COVID-19 patient now infects, has risen to 1.1, Reuters reported. Once the figure exceeds 1, that means the number of cases nationwide is on the rise.
Despite its large caseload, Germany has kept the death toll far lower than in other European nations stricken with the virus in part due to widespread, early testing, lockdown measures and its well-funded and operated health care system, according to Reuters.
After meetings with leaders from Germany’s 16 states, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Wednesday the country would begin easing its lockdown restrictions, allowing shops to reopen and school children to gradually return to classrooms. Germany’s football league system, Bundesliga, was cleared to restart as early as May 16.
Merkel added she would launch an “emergency brake” to require local officials to reinstate lockdown measures should infections rise above a threshold of 50 per 100,000 people, the BBC reported.