Merkel panic: Germany to introduce new emergency measures – fears second coronavirus wave

Health Minister Jens Spahn announced the emergency measures amid fears a second wave has already hit the European Union’s largest country. He said: “We have first drafts. We want to coordinate this well with the states because they need to be able to implement it at airports and train stations.” The testing will be introduced later this week now authorities have managed to further build up their capacity.

Mr Spahn added: “We now have 1.2 million tests that we can do every week. Around half of it is currently being called up.”

The number of infections in Germany has been on the rise, with 955 new cases on Saturday and 870 on Friday.

The Robert Koch Institute, the government’s disease control agency, has blamed summer travel, and the public flouting social distancing rules.

Germany has had more than 210,000 COVID-19 infections and more than 9,000 pandemic-related deaths since the crisis exploded across Europe.

Berlin has introduced social distancing and hygiene rules throughout the country, and people have been asked to wear face-coverings in shops and public transport.

Neighbours Belgium and Luxembourg have witnessed significant rises in infections in recent weeks.

Belgium’s National Security Council last week ordered a drastic scale back of its lockdown easing, shrinking each person’s social bubbles by more than half.

Bars and cafes must also gather the names and contact information of every table they serve.

Cases across the country almost doubled to 448, according to the latest official statistics.

Luxembourg, the EU’s coronavirus hotspot, has a rate of 209.5 infections for every 100,000 people in the country, according to the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

There were 62 recorded new cases of the deadly disease on Sunday, adding to the 98 new infections announced on Saturday.

Luxembourg has blamed the high infection rate on its nationwide testing programme and the checks it carries out on cross-border workers from Belgium, France and Germany that are not residents.

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On Friday, a new record was set with 292,000 people infected in just one day.

Most new cases are in the Americas, with a total of 172,000. Brazil was the most prolific with 69,000 infections, followed by the United States at 65,000.

India recorded 55,000 new cases, and Europe 25,000 as outbreaks worsened in Spain and Poland.