The reproduction rate of coronavirus in Germany jumped to 2.88 from 1.79, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for public health said yesterday. The number, a sharp increase from 1.06 on Friday, is a setback for the European Union’s most populous country.
The Government said it has fared better in the pandemic than many European peers due mainly to early testing and social distancing measures.
RKI attributed the rise to a number of local outbreaks, which have been seen in locations such as meatpacking plants, logistics centres, and shelters for refugees.
Outbreaks have also been linked to church services and family parties, the institute said.
Alongside this, the premier of the western North Rhine-Westphalia region warned on Friday it faced the threat of a renewed lockdown following a spiralling outbreak at a major slaughterhouse.
Armin Laschet told German television ZDF on Sunday: “I cannot rule out a broader lockdown.
“There are 1,300 properties where staff and their families live, and where we need to observe the quarantine rules.”
1,300 people working at the premises in Guetersloh tested positive for coronavirus, up from 803 infections on Friday.
7,000 people have been put under quarantine and with the government closing kindergartens and schools close to the abattoir as a result.
READ MORE: Germany coronavirus R number: Why have COVID-19 cases increased?
It comes after Germany’s Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann said that the economy had passed the worst of the crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak and was now expected to “recover gradually”.
He told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung: “The low point should be behind us by now and things are looking up again. Following the sharp slump, we only see a comparatively gradual recovery.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel had favoured maintaining lockdown discipline for longer, but Germany eventually eased restrictions following pressure from regional premiers.