Düsseldorf The number of corona cases is rising significantly, with 1226 new infections across Germany on Tuesday. The government views the development with concern. NRW is particularly affected, one of the reasons being travel returnees.
Approximately one in four of all confirmed new corona infections in North Rhine-Westphalia is currently due to travel returnees. This was announced by the NRW Health Ministry on Wednesday at the request of the German Press Agency in Düsseldorf. This concerns both the return of travel from within Germany and from abroad.
The figures were based on information from local health authorities, a spokesperson explained. Since they traced the chain of infection in positive tests, around 25 percent of confirmed corona cases had been travel-related.
In contrast to the corona test centres at airports, which only record air travellers from at-risk countries, the local health authorities register all cases that are related to travel - "of holidaymakers to Turkey as well as returnees from holidays in Buxtehude or business travellers," explained a ministry spokesperson.
The test centre at Düsseldorf Airport, the largest airport in North Rhine-Westphalia, therefore represents only a small part of the picture. According to the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians in North Rhine-Westphalia, 71 of a good 1850 smears in the test centre were positive last Saturday (Friday: 46 of around 1650 smears).
The number of corona infections has risen steadily throughout Germany in recent weeks. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 1226 new infections on Wednesday compared to the previous day. This is the highest number since the beginning of May. With 413 new infections and the worst development in the seven-day period, NRW is far ahead of the other German states.
Government sees development with concern
The federal government views the development of the numbers with concern, said government spokesman Steffen Seibert. He said that there was now not one major outbreak of infection, but many small and medium-sized outbreaks throughout the country. Causes were, among others, travel returnees and private parties where distance rules had not been observed. It is also remarkable that there are significantly more young people among those infected. As young people are very mobile, this also means a greater potential for spreading infections.
NRW has extended regulations
On Tuesday, the state government had extended all corona regulations until the end of August and in some cases tightened them. Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) has expressed his concern about the development in the past few days and reminded the citizens to continue to observe the distance and hygiene measures.
On Wednesday, NRW was the only federal state to start the new school year with compulsory masks also in class. The only exceptions are primary school pupils and pupils with special needs. However, they too must wear masks in the corridors and other school grounds.
Since the beginning of the corona crisis, at least 218,519 people in Germany have been proven to be infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus, as reported by the RKI (data as of 12 August, 0.00 hours).
(Original text: (dpa) / Translation: Mareike Graepel)