A senior German state politician on Saturday warned that “the second coronavirus wave is already here.”
Michael Kretschmer, premier of the eastern German state of Saxony, told Saturday's edition of the Rheinische Post newspaper: “It is already taking place every day. We have new clusters of infection every day which could become very high numbers.”
The politician from the center-right CDU party said that Germany's federal system, which devolves health decisions to the 16 states, has allowed the country to respond effectively to the situation.
“Coronavirus is the best proof that this country has grown together,” he added.
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Uptick in daily cases
Kretschmer's comments come a day after the government's infectious disease institute, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) noted a significant rise in daily new infections, from around 500 to over 800 at one point last week.
“This development is very worrying and will continue to be monitored very closely by the RKI,” a spokeswoman told DPA news agency on Friday evening.
“A further exacerbation of the situation must be avoided,” she added.
Germany's health authorities reported 781 new infections in the 24 hours to midnight Friday, according to RKI. On Thursday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases was 815.
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Overall, at least 204,964 people in Germany have caught coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, the RKI said on Saturday morning. At least 9,118 people have died of the virus, with seven coronavirus-related deaths on Friday.
The latest reproduction rate, which measures the disease's ability to spread, was 1.08, up from 0.93 on Thursday, meaning that on average an infected person passes the virus to roughly one other person.
COVID-19 Travel Diaries: A road trip through Germany Day 1: Let's hit the road!
Today our trip through Germany begins — we'll be traveling from the Baltic Sea to the Alps! Camping holidays are extremely popular this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, it was not easy to book a camper van, but we finally managed to get one in Leipzig. Today we'll take the train from Berlin to the pick-up station. The camper van will be our mobile holiday home for two weeks.
COVID-19 Travel Diaries: A road trip through Germany Day 2: Hello Rügen!
Our first stop is the Baltic Sea island of Rügen. We arrived late at 10.15 pm. Initially we went to the wrong camp site but didn't realize our mistake until the next morning as we'd parked our camper in front of the closed gates and slept there! Now, we've found the right camp site and can explore the island. We are delighted that our adventure has begun and look forward to sharing it with you.
COVID-19 Travel Diaries: A road trip through Germany Day 3: All aboard!
The early bird catches the… BOAT! Today we got up early for a boat tour of Rügen's coastline. It took us to the famous chalk cliffs and the northern edge of the island to Cape Arkona. The cliffs reach up as far as 160 meters (525 ft.) into the sky. Unfortunately it started to rain and our planned wind surfing lesson was canceled. Something to be prepared for as part of a German holiday: rain!
COVID-19 Travel Diaries: A road trip through Germany Day 4: High above the trees
Today was our last day on Rügen island and it again started with a lot of rain. But that didn't dampen our exploration of the island. After a quick coffee and some breakfast, we headed to the treetop walk in Prora that led us to a gigantic tower, where the view was phenomenal — even in the rain. In the afternoon we got back into our camper van to head to Berlin — our next stop on our road trip.
COVID-19 Travel Diaries: A road trip through Germany Day 5: Berlin by kayak
After fixing the water pump that was giving us some grief during the night, we drove into the city. At Treptower Park we met up with Check-in presenter Nicole for a paddle along the Spree. Now we're tired and our arms are hurting but it was great!
COVID-19 Travel Diaries: A road trip through Germany Day 6: A visit to the Mauerpark in Berlin
As it was Sunday we decided to head over to the Mauerpark, where the largest flea market of Berlin takes place. Back in the days, the Berlin wall crossed through the park. Nowadays, it’s a place where people come together to sing, dance, eat and buy things. There were a lot of people visiting the market and the surrounding park – some social distanced and even wore a mask, others didn’t.
COVID-19 Travel Diaries: A road trip through Germany Day 7: Chilling in Berlin
We have already experienced so much! That's why we have taken a day off today – with breakfast in a café. But we are already thinking about our next destination: Saxony Switzerland. This extreme rocky landscape near Dresden is unique. So after the metropolitan air, we're off to the countryside again. We're very curious about what we'll find.
COVID-19 Travel Diaries: A road trip through Germany Day 8: Hiking in Saxon Switzerland
Our camp site lies right next to the river Elbe, meaning we enjoy a gorgeous view every time we step out of our van. Hills rise up on both sides of the river, and to our left the Königstein castle towers over the entire valley. During our hours-long hike through the countryside we got a bit lost, but it didn’t matter: Everywhere we went the nature was spectacular!
COVID-19 Travel Diaries: A road trip through Germany Day 9: Rock climbing
This morning we headed over to the Pillars of Hercules, an array of large sandstone rocks which belong to the Saxon Switzerland National Park. Our challenge for today? Climb the rocks – despite both suffering from fear of heights. But thankfully, our guide Bernd was encouraging. We ended up climbing up two rocks. Getting to the top and seeing the view over the sandstones was truly breathtaking!
COVID-19 Travel Diaries: A road trip through Germany Day 10: Sightseeing in Bamberg
Unfortunately, the weather was bad again but we did a nice tour around Bamberg. Its historical town center is a UNESCO World Heritage site: the title is well-earned! Half-timbered houses and imposing buildings make the Franconian city unforgettable. We went to Bamberg Cathedral, to the Town Hall (pictured) and strolled through the historical alleys.
COVID-19 Travel Diaries: A road trip through Germany Day 11: No campsite but hotel
We arrived in Munich late last night. A bad smell welcomed us upon arrival and there were barely any lights to guide us through the caravan jungle. The sanitary facilities were dirty and dotted with slugs and insects. The next morning we tried to find another campsite but weren’t lucky: all booked out. We are now in a hotel. After the bad start our sightseeing tour in Munich can finally begin!
COVID-19 Travel Diaries: A road trip through Germany Day 12: A fantastic day in Munich
We wandered to the English Garden where we stared in awe at the surfers riding the famous Eisbach wave. We also listened to the chiming of the New Town Hall bells at Marienplatz square and watched the small figures in the facade twirling around. Something that really struck us was that most tourists were German. It's strange to see an absence of foreigners in one of Germany's most visited cities.
COVID-19 Travel Diaries: A road trip through Germany Day 13: Windsurfing at Lake Starnberg
Today we went windsurfing at Lake Starnberg. By the end of the day, we weren't just able to stand safely on our boards but we were whizzing around, making curves and occasionally picking up some speed. It was great fun! In the evening, we head further south. Only 20 minutes into our drive we started seeing the Alps rising up on the horizon. We stopped a few times to admire the view. Fantastic!
COVID-19 Travel Diaries: A road trip through Germany Day 14: Fairytale castle to end our road trip
Today we visited one of Germany's most popular tourist attractions – Neuschwanstein Castle. We hiked up the hill for about half an hour and then stood in line to get to the Marien Bridge where the view is just spectacular. On the bridge, larger groups are not allowed, because it is too narrow for social distancing. Moreover, all visitors have to wear face masks. Nevertheless, it was all worth it!
COVID-19 Travel Diaries: A road trip through Germany Day 15: Bye Bye
Today our road trip through Germany unfortunately came to an end. The day was quite exhausting, because we had a long drive back from the Allgäu to Leipzig, where we returned our camper and took a train to Berlin. Now we are quite tired and will probably sleep the rest of the day. It was a great trip with many impressions!
The German government has repeatedly emphasized that the reproduction rate must remain below 1 for the outbreak to gradually subside.
The latest seven-day R-value, which is less subject to daily fluctuations, was recorded at 1.16, up from 1.05.
Germany's coronavirus recovery rate is also one of the best in the world; an estimated 189,800 people had recovered from the virus by Saturday morning.
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Returning travelers, large celebrations
More than 60% of the new cases are due to an uptick in infections in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia and in the south-western state of Baden-Württemberg, according to RKI.
Health officials say that new COVID-19 clusters have been traced to larger celebrations, leisure activities and places of work, or from visits to community and health facilities. The increasing number of cases is also being traced to returning travelers.