Germany’s top disease control official, Lothar Wieler warned on Tuesday that second and third waves of novel coronavirus infections could be on the horizon.
Wieler, who is head of the Robert Koch Institute, a government agency, disclosed this to reporters in Berlin.
“This is a pandemic. And in a pandemic, , this virus will cause disease until 60 to 70 per cent of the population is infected,” he said.
A second wave will come “with great certainty,” he added, noting that the majority of experts shared the belief, and that many also expected a third wave.
Wieler was responding to a journalist’s question regarding the development of an app that would be used to track infections in Germany.
He said that such a tool would be needed as the pandemic unfolded.
The top official did not comment on when the app would be launched.
Germany’s total number of coronavirus cases ticked to above 164,000 on Tuesday, according to a dpa tally based on the latest regional data available.
At least 6,808 people have died after catching the virus.
Wieler said that the number of new cases reported daily has dropped in recent days, falling in a spectrum of between 700 and 1,600.q
“This is very good news,” he said.
However, the number of deaths reported each day remained high, at around 40 to 200.
Germany has made gains in its battle against the novel coronavirus after introducing nationwide restrictions and closures in mid-March.
Since then, the country’s 16 federal states have eased the measures at varying rates, with a growing number of children allowed to return to school, and shops, museums and hairdressers reopening for business.
Despite being one of the worst-hit regions, the government in the southern state of Bavaria agreed on Tuesday to gradually open restaurants and hotels in the second half of May.
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Lower Saxony, coastal states that rely on tourism, are following Bavaria’s lead.
As of Monday, Lower Saxony is allowing restaurants, cafes and pubs to open indoor and outdoor seating at 50 per cent of normal capacity.
Although team sports remain banned, Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Hamburg are allowing residents to play contactless sports such as golf, tennis and gymnastics in the next week.
North Rhine-Westphalia is allowing visitors to nursing homes as of Sunday. Friends and family had been barred from entry since mid-March.
The varied regional responses have caused some friction, as Chancellor Angela Merkel tries to coordinate the country’s anti-viral efforts.
She is scheduled to conduct her latest telephone conference with state premiers on Wednesday.
Merkel had said on 20 April that a return to stricter measures would be “unavoidable” if infection rates became exponential.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)