COVID-19 Numbers Still Too High, German Health Officials Say

The head of Germany’s disease control agency said Thursday that while COVID-19 infection rates have stabilized, they are still too high.  
Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases President Lothar Wieler told reporters in Berlin he believes the number of infections has not dropped because German citizens are not taking restrictions on large gatherings seriously enough.  
Wieler noted other nations, such as Belgium and France, have brought down their infection rates. He said, “…the reason for this lies in people’s behavior, if they follow the rules or not.”
Wieler said he supports the decision announced Wednesday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. After meeting with the nation’s 16 regional governors, Merkel said the current COVID-19 restrictions will remain in place until January 10. Merkel said Germany had failed to reach its goal of reducing the rate of infections to 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in a week.
The agreement means restaurants, bars and gyms remain closed and limits on personal contacts will remain into the new year, though all sides agreed to ease some restrictions over the Christmas period.
Wieler said large outbreaks are once again being reported in nursing homes, where elderly and frail people are particularly susceptible to the coronavirus.
Almost 480 deaths from COVID-19 were reported in the past day, raising Germany’s total to 17,602.
Wieler appealed to people to respect social distancing and hygiene rules.

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