BERLIN, April 16 (Xinhua) -- The rate of new infections with COVID-19 in Germany continued below peak times as the number of confirmed cases increased by 2,866 within one day to 130,450, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced on Thursday.
Medical staff take care of a Covid-19 patient in the intensive care unit at the University hospital of Aachen, western Germany, on April 15, 2020 during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: AFP)
At the height of the pandemic in Germany, more than 6,000 new COVID-19 infections were recorded on a single day by the RKI, the federal government agency for disease control and prevention.
The estimated number of people in Germany who had already recovered from COVID-19 rose by more than 4,400 within one day to 77,000 by Thursday, according to RKI. The number of deaths from the new coronavirus increased by 315 to 3,569 as of Thursday.
On Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the general contact restrictions for German citizens would be extended till May 3. Although hospitals had not been overburdened so far, Germany had only achieved "a fragile interim success," Merkel warned.
"The measures taken are working," said RKI President Lothar Wieler on Tuesday, urging for continued adherence to the rules on distance and hygiene. "The discipline we have maintained over the past few weeks should be maintained."
Some measures, however, were eased by the German government. As of April 20, shops with up to 800 square meters of sales area would be allowed to open under strict hygiene regulations and restrictions. Car dealers as well as bicycle and book shops could open regardless of their sales area.
"There will always be small steps," Helge Braun, head of the Chancellery, told the German broadcaster ARD on Thursday. "But we cannot open everything at once, because the epidemic remains."