Angela Merkel explains coronavirus infection risk so anyone can understand
Germany’s leader says the country’s health system is in a ‘fragile situation’ as it prepares to slowly lift its lockdown.
Some shops are set to open their doors next week after social distancing measures brought coronavirus infection rates down, but Angela Merkel has warned that ‘caution is the order of the day and not overconfidence’. She says there is an ‘ice thin’ margin between hospitals are overwhelmed by a potential second wave of infections.
Speaking at a press conference today, the Chancellor said: ‘The curve has become flatter. It needs to be like this so it doesn’t overtax our heath system. We have made model observations.
‘We’re now at about reproduction factor 1, so one person is infecting another one. If we get to the point where everybody infects 1.1 people, then by October we will reach the capacity level of our health system with the assumed numbers of intensive care beds.’
She warned hospitals could reach capacity by July if the infection rate rose to 1.2 – where one person in a group of five infects two and the rest one.
The Chancellor said a rate of 1.3 would bring that breaking point to June.
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She added: ‘So that’s where you can see how little the margin is. And the whole evolution is based on the fact that we can assume that we have an infection figure that we can monitor, that we can track, and that we have more protection concepts and thanks to them we can loosen restrictions.
‘But it is thin ice, as Mr Tschentscher (Hamburg Mayor) said, or a fragile situation, or really a situation where caution is the order of the day and not overconfidence.’
As well as small shops, car dealers, bicycle shops and book stores can all reopen, regardless of their size next week, but hairdressers will have to wait until May 4 provided they comply with ‘strict hygiene measures’.
It is not clear when restaurants, bars and cafes will be allowed to go back to business.
Social distancing rules will stay in place until at least May 3 and people will be asked to wear face masks in shops and on public transport.
Germany announced 315 deaths from coronavirus today bringing its total to 3,569.
The overall number of cases rose by 2,866 (9.7%) to 130,450, marking the third day in the row infections have risen after almost a week of decline.
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