Germany's new coronavirus cases rise for first time in four days

Members of a coronavirus testing station at the factory premises of the Westfleisch meat processing company in Germany on May 10, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (BLOOMBERG) - Germany recorded the first increase in new coronavirus infections in four days as it gradually relaxes restrictions on daily life. There was a decline in the so-called reproduction number, which reflects how rapidly the disease is spreading.

There were 697 additional cases in the 24 hours through Tuesday (May 12) morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, up from 555 a day earlier. That brought the total to 172,576. Fatalities rose by 92 to 7,661.

Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a widespread lifting of national restrictions last week. Restaurants and shops are allowed to reopen, children will be returning to school in stages before the summer vacation and professional soccer matches will resume at the weekend.

However, social-distancing rules will stay in place until at least June 5, and curbs may be reinstated locally if there's a resurgence in infections.

Germany's reproduction number decreased to 1.07 from 1.13 the previous day, according to the latest situation report from the country's public health authority published on Monday.

The factor - known as R-naught - captures additional cases directly generated by one infected person.

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