Health

Roundup: Covid-19 rates jump in Germany, Russia, Poland

Frankfurt, Germany, Sep 19 (efe-epa).- Authorities in Germany, Russia and Poland reported their highest daily increases of Covid-19 cases in months on Saturday, as a worrying upward trend of infection takes hold in Europe.

GERMANY

Germany reported 2,297 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, the most since April, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) disease control center said Saturday.

The rate, while the highest in months, is still well below the peak reached at the end of March and early April, when daily caseloads exceeded 6,000.

Germany’s lockdown measures throughout the spring had meant that daily infection rates in May and in June had fallen to between 300 and 350 cases, but the summer months of July and August have seen a resurgence of the virus, coinciding with holidaymakers returning from abroad.

The R number – the seven-day average reproduction rate for the disease – stood at 1.16 on Saturday, compared to 1.07 the day before. A value of 1 means that each confirmed case is infecting one other person on average.

The southern region of Bavaria has been one of the worst affected in the country, and the annual beer festival, Oktoberfest, due to take place this weekend, has been cancelled.

Security measures have been stepped up and the consumption of alcohol on the traditional fair grounds has been banned amid fears that spontaneous celebrations could be held.

For the first time since the pandemic began, officials in Munich reported more than 50 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past week.

German chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said she would work with the country’s regional authorities to ensure that children “do not become the losers of the pandemic”.

Schools across the country were closed in the spring, causing severe disruption to the education of millions of children, and forcing classes to go online.

“From one day to the next, everyday school life had to focus entirely on learning at home,” Merkel said in her weekly video address. “And it became clear how important it is to learn with digital media and how important digital education formats are,” which she said were “indispensable complements” to face-to-face teaching.

The chancellor will meet with the culture and education ministers of the country’s federal states on Monday to make sure that all schools have fast access to the internet and that all teachers have access to a computer to be able to deliver lessons online “as quickly as possible.”

RUSSIA

Russia is in the midst of a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, officials said Saturday, after more than 6,000 cases were reported in the last 24 hours.

Despite the uptick, authorities are not considering another lockdown to stem the spread of the disease which has already claimed 19,339 lives in Russia.

The Russian capital, the main country’s hotspot, reported 825 new infections by coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the highest daily number of infections in almost three months.

After remaining stable for weeks, an upward trend has been observed since Tuesday.

According to Moscow authorities, the rise in the number of cases in the capital is due to more tests being carried out – between 40,000 and 60,000 are being conducted each day – as well as the increase in the number of passengers on public transport.

The mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobianin, has said that the viral situation in the capital is under control and that it will not be necessary to apply lockdown measures, such as those that were implemented in March and remained in force for almost four months.

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