The death toll in Germany has risen by a third in 24 hours, but the death rate remains low at 0.5 percent, the latest figures show.
The health institute Robert Koch today reported 49 new deaths in Germany, from 149 to 198.
The total number of infections increased by 15.7 percent, a similar jump from yesterday, and increased by 4,954 to bring the total from 31,554 to 36,508.
The resulting death rate of 0.5 percent, or one in 200 patients, remains significantly lower than Germany’s major European neighbors, although it has increased every day for the past week.
The death toll from the coronavirus in Germany has risen to 198 today, up one third. This graph shows the rising death toll in the month of March
German health workers are conducting a test at a center for civil servants in Munich
When asked about Germany’s low death rate yesterday, the head of the Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, said the country had tested more extensively for the virus than other countries, meaning many people with mild symptoms were added to the count.
“We are at a very early stage of the epidemic here in Germany and we were testing very early,” a Ministry of Health spokesman said yesterday.
The German government has an official policy of “trying to find, isolate, test and handle every case”.
However, Wieler yesterday also signaled that people with mild symptoms should stay at home, warning that tests should not be used unnecessarily.
Wieler also said that the average patient in Germany is younger than in other countries. The coronavirus is known to be more dangerous to older people.
The head of the German hospital federation told German media yesterday that the infection rate is likely to decrease next week.
“In the medium term, we expect infection rates to decline as a result of social distance,” said Gerald Gass.
“However, this will not be significantly reflected in the recorded infection rates until early to mid-next week,” he added.
He said about 1,000 coronavirus patients are currently being treated in intensive care units in German clinics.
This graph shows the death rate in the six European countries that have registered the most cases of coronavirus. Germany is the lowest of these
Medical workers with face masks and protective suits take a coronavirus patient to Helios Hospital in Leipzig yesterday after the patient flew over from Italy
A beer garden in Munich’s ‘English Garden’ was taped yesterday after Germany banned social gatherings
People are waiting in line yesterday to enter a supermarket in Schulzendorf near Berlin while some customers were wearing face masks
South and West Germany have been most affected by the outbreak so far, with nearly 8,000 cases in the state of Bavaria.
There have also been more than 1,600 cases in Berlin, with four killed in the German capital.
Angela Merkel is one of the people who isolates herself in Berlin after she was vaccinated last Friday by a doctor who has since tested positive for coronavirus.
However, the chancellor has undergone two tests for the virus, both of which have come back negative, the government said yesterday.
In her absence, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz sent a huge stimulus package through the German parliament yesterday, breaking with Berlin’s usual budgetary discipline.
German MPs suspended the country’s debt rules on Wednesday in a vote to approve an additional budget of € 156 billion (£ 143 billion) to fund health spending and keep businesses afloat.
“That’s a massive amount, nearly half of our normal budget for a year,” Scholz told lawmakers in a special session where lawmakers were separated by empty seats.
Scholz said the stimulus package was needed to “fully combat the social and economic consequences of the crisis,” adding that Germany could afford it.
Germany had been in its 11th consecutive year of growth before the outbreak, which will plunge Europe’s largest economy into recession.
A patient with coronavirus is admitted to the Helios hospital in Leipzig, where doctors treat patients who have flown in from Italy
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, pictured on Sunday in Berlin, is quarantined and working from home after being treated by an infected doctor – although she tested negative herself
The Ifo Institute has warned that economic production may shrink by as much as 20 percent as a result of the health crisis.
The government’s package also includes € 100 billion for an economic stability fund that can absorb direct equity interests in companies.
Berlin also offers € 100 billion in credit to the public sector development bank KfW for loans to companies in difficulty.
In addition, the Stability Fund will offer € 400 billion in loan guarantees to safeguard corporate debt at risk of default.
Despite the growing crisis, Germany has admitted some patients from hard-hit Italy and France to demonstrate “solidarity across borders in Europe”.
A first group of six Italian patients arrived at Leipzig airport in the eastern state of Saxony on Tuesday morning.
Leipzig University Hospital took two of the patients transported, a spokesman said, both critically ill 57-year-old men moved from intensive care in Bergamo.
An advantage to Germany of the transfers is that its hospitals will gain valuable further experience treating coronavirus patients before the number of serious cases in the country increases.
The government offers hospitals huge state subsidies to help accelerate plans to double their intensive care capacity, which currently stands at around 28,000 beds.
German hospitals also admitted coronavirus patients from France on Tuesday.
Thomas Kirschning, a senior physician and coordinator of the intensive care unit in the western city of Mannheim, said his clinic had taken a recovering 64-year-old French patient from Colmar, where the capacity of the intensive care unit has expanded to its breaking point.