The German health minister has warned that the country is in a “decisive phase” of its fight against Covid-19, as he urged the country to back a national effort to slow the spread of the virus.

The country entered its second nationwide lockdown on Monday, shutting down certain sectors, including restaurants, gyms, and theaters, for four weeks to help prevent the German health service from being overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Health Minister Jens Spahn called on “every individual in society” to join together in the “mammoth task” of combating and controlling the virus. Discussing the severity of the situation and the response required, Spahn stated that “we are in a decisive phase” and “have not yet reached the peak.”

The new lockdown measures came into effect after Lars Schaade, the deputy head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for Infectious Diseases, Germany’s public health institute, warned the country would see over 400,000 new daily Covid-19 cases by Christmas without action.

On Tuesday, the RKI’s coronavirus data showed Germany reported 15,352 new cases, taking the total number to 560,379, and 131 new deaths, increasing the death toll to 10,661. However, while that reflects a slight flattening of the curve, the R number is still at 1.17, above the 0.7-1 target it needs to hit.

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