Like its European neighbours, Germany has seen a surge in the number of new cases of coronavirus in recent weeks, reporting the highest number of new cases — 1,693 —in almost four months in the 24 hours through Tuesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
German media reported on Monday (17 August) that chancellor Angela Merkel urged her conservative party presidium not to underestimate the rise in infections, but that they are still “manageable.”
However, Merkel is reported as describing the rise in the number of infected people, many coming back from vacations as a threatening, and ruled out any additional easing of contact restrictions.
"One must pull on the reins so as not to run into a disaster with corona,” the chancellor is reported as saying.
German health minister Jens Spahn has warned in particular about the treat of infections spreading at big social gatherings, like weddings and going on “party holidays.“
Spahn also defended Germany’s decision last week to designate all of Spain as a high-risk area, telling Bild am Sonntag newspaper that: “I know how much the Germans love Spain ... But unfortunately the infection rates there are rising sharply, too sharply.”
The government announcement that Spain was now a risk country prompted travel operator TUI (TUI1.DE) to immediately cancel all package holidays from Germany to Spain, until at least 24 August.
Germany now offers free tests to travellers arriving in airports, but this has ignited a debate this week over whether people who knowingly travel to a risk area should be made to pay for their tests on return.
The state leader of Bavaria, Markus Söder, issued an apology last week after an embarrassing data-entry mess that meant 949 out of 44,000 people who were tested for coronavirus on their return to the state, turned out to be positive and were not immediately informed about it. The state said it had managed to locate most of the 900-plus people by Sunday.
The Mittelbayerischer Zeitung newspaper reported today (18 August) that some 120 people have now been forced to quarantine, after a man who had tested positive after a trip to Italy went to a birthday party before he had got the results of his test.