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Coronavirus cases total 31,500 in Germany, death toll at 149
Published : 25 Mar 2020, 22:12
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Germany increased by 4,118 within one day to 31,554, announced the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the federal government agency and research institute responsible for disease control and prevention, on Wednesday.
The number of deaths from the new coronavirus increased by 35 to 149 within one day, according to RKI.
Because of the time it takes for the official data to be submitted to RKI, the number of infections as reported by the health ministries of Germany's federal states was already at more than 33,000 on Wednesday.
"The cases are increasing, daily fluctuations are also to be expected, of course," said RKI President Lothar Wieler during the institute's regular press conference. Wielder added that "we must continue to wait and see if the measures take effect."
On Sunday, Chancellor Angela Merkel had announced a limited curfew for all of Germany to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the country. Noncompliance with the contact ban can be fined with up to 25,000 euros (27,035 U.S. dollars).
So far, the mortality rate in Germany is low compared to many other European countries. "We do not know exactly why this is the case," but factors could be that testing was carried out on a large scale in Germany and thus many minor cases were also detected. In addition, not too many old people in Germany had yet been infected with COVID-19.
According to RKI, the average age of people that have died from the disease in Germany was 81 years. The average age of people infected with COVID-19 in Germany, mostly men, was 45 years.
Currently, studies were underway in Germany to test treating COVID-19 patients with the antibodies of patients who had already recovered, noted RKI President Wieler.
"We are at the beginning of an epidemic," stressed Wieler. "It is still completely open how this epidemic will develop."
Meanwhile, RKI has adapted its recommendation for testing for COVID-19. In the future, people who have not been in a risk area will also be tested. However, the patients must suffer from "acute respiratory symptoms" for a test.
According to the German Hospital Society (DKG), around 1,000 COVID-19 patients are currently being treated in intensive care units in German clinics.
DKG President Gerald Gass was quoted by German media, n-tv.de, as saying "I assume that we will have to expect around 70,000 registered infections by the end of this week."