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Germany records highest COVID-19 fatalities in 24 hours

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By NS Desk 15-Apr-2020

Berlin, April 15 (IANS) Germany on Wednesday confirmed 285 COVID-19 fatalities in 24 hours, recording its highest daily death toll from the disease, health authorities reported.

The 285 new deaths - surpassing the previous record of 266 last Friday - brought the total from 2,969 to 3,254, an increase of 9.6 per cent, Daily mail reported.

The spike in deaths comes despite a slowing infection rate which has prompted scientific advisers to call for a re-opening of schools 'as soon as possible'.

Germany also has a keen eye on the rate of contagion, known as R, which shows how quickly the virus is spreading.

The rate is currently around 1.2, meaning that each person with the virus infects another 1.2 people on average.

"It is really in our interest that this R rate goes below 1, or is at 1. That is an important factor," said Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch diseases institute.

"We can't speak of containment yet - we still have high numbers each day. We are seeing a slowdown," he said.

Angela Merkel is due to meet the leaders of Germany's 16 states on Wednesday to discuss a possible way out of the lockdown.

In recommendations sent to Merkel, an influential group of academics called for schools to re-open 'as soon as possible'.

The country has also closed shops, restaurants, playgrounds and sports facilities, and many companies have shut to aid the fight against the coronavirus.

Berlin mayor Michael Mueller told broadcaster RBB on Tuesday that the lockdown could be relaxed 'at the earliest from April 27, or possibly from May 1'.

Much of the early decision-making was left to Germany's 16 states, of which Berlin is one.

Federal economy minister Peter Altmaier declined to name a date for the relaxation of restrictions.

--IANS

sdr/bg

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