Another wave of coronavirus infections could hit Germany as early as this summer, the vice president of the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases has warned. Health officials say they are preparing for all possibilities.

Case numbers in Germany are falling but the situation could change if people do not adhere to social distancing guidelines, Lars Schaade said at a news conference. A worst-case scenario would be a surge in cases returning in late July or early August, he added.

Germany began easing its nationwide lockdown two weeks ago. Although the number of new cases continues to drop, Helge Braun, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, said on Thursday that the pandemic would last for at least for the rest of the year.

Lothar Wieler, the head of RKI, said earlier this week that a second wave would come but that Germany was prepared to handle it.

The German government has handed over responsibility for lifting lockdown restrictions to the states, with the stipulation that measures would be re-imposed if infections increase. Under the plan, if more than 50 new infections per 100,000 residents are detected within a week, the affected city or district must enact “a corresponding lockdown plan.”

The new conditions could make transitioning back to normalcy difficult. A study recently published by Bonn University concluded that one in five people infected with Covid-19 in Germany show no symptoms. The researchers estimate that 1.8 million people across Germany may have already contracted the disease – 10 times more than is reflected in data on officially confirmed cases.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany currently stands at 166,091, according to figures provided by the RKI. The reported death toll is 7,119, the tally showed.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!