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German Health Officials Warn Decline in New COVID-19 Cases Could Backslide

German health officials Friday warned there are signs the recent downward trend of new COVID-19 cases in the country could reverse itself and urged caution to those eager to lift virus-related restrictions.
 
At a Berlin news conference, German Health Minister Jens Spahn and Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for Infectious Diseases President Lothar Wieler told reporters the nation-wide lockdown was having an impact but said Germany’s rate of new infections is still too high.
 
The RKI reported on Friday a slight drop in COVID-19 infections over seven days, with 56.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 57.1 the day before. Wieler said, “The national 7-day incidence is no longer declining so quickly … and unfortunately, several hundred deaths are still being reported to Robert Koch Institute every day,”
 
Spahn said almost 20% of people in Germany who tested positive for coronavirus were infected with the so-called British COVID-19 variant.  
 
 “Clearly, the virus is not giving up. On the one side, we see in the last 2-3 weeks a declining number of cases and a rising number of vaccinations,” the health minister said. “On the other side, we see a rising number of worrying virus mutations also here in Germany.”   
 
Spahn said people’s desire to end the lockdown is tangible, but he stressed the need to be cautious with any re-openings so as not to lose the ground they have gained against the virus.  
 
Both Spahn and Wieler countered recent concerns over AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, saying it was “safe and effective” and approved by the European Union.Health authorities in some European countries are facing resistance to AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine after reports side-effects led hospital staff and other front-line workers to call in sick.
  

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