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Coronavirus latest: German interior minister calls for free testing

  • July 05, 2020
  • Mexico surpasses France’s death toll
  • Over 11.15 million confirmed cases reported globally
  • Germany’s interior minister calls for free nationwide testing

All updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT) 

05:09 Germany on Sunday reported an increase of 239 in confirmed coronavirus cases. That brings the number of infections in the country to 196,335, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country’s infectious disease agency.

The reported death toll rose by two to 9,012.

Sunday’s figures are down from the day before, when there were 422 reported new cases and seven deaths. Fatalities passed the 9,000 mark on Friday. According to RKI estimates, some 181,700 people have recovered from the infection.

02:39 Germany’s Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said Germany’s economy will start growing again in just a few months.

“I am certain that we can stop the downward turn of our economy after the summer holidays and the German economy will grow again by October at the latest,” the conservative politician told the mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag.

While the nation’s GDP is set to shrink by 6% this year, the minister said he expected growth of over 5% in 2021. Altmaier was nearly equally optimistic when discussing Germany’s labor market.

“I assume that we would see the peak of coronavirus-related unemployment this year, somewhere around October,” he said. The numbers “could start coming back in November.”

Altmaier’s claims are close to recent projections released by the Munich-based Ifo economic institute. The reputable think tank believes that Germany’s economy would shrink by 6.7% this year an then grow 6.4% in 2021.

However, the veteran politician also warned of the dangers presented by the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the US.

“I am very concerned by the rising number of new infections in the US,” Altmaier told the paper. “An out-of-control pandemic over there would have big consequences for the global economy.”

02:37 Beijing’s recent surge in coronavirus cases appears to have been brought under control with only two new infections reported on Saturday. China has reported eight new cases, up from three infections a day earlier.

Six of the new cases were imported, bringing the total number of infections in China to 83,553. No new deaths have been reported since May as the death toll remains at 4,634.

China also reported a slight increase in the number of asymptomatic patients — seven, as compared to the four reported a day earlier.

01:07 Mexico has now registered over 30,000 coronavirus deaths, surpassing France to become the country with the fifth-biggest coronavirus death toll. On Saturday, Mexican officials reported 523 fatalities for a total of 30,366, as well as 6.000 new infections for a total of over 251,000.

Thegovernment has warned that the real number of infections is likely much higher. Health authorities have struggled to limit the spread of the pandemic, with Mexico City officials loosening the lockdown measures earlier this week but changing course on Friday.

The Latin American nation of some 129 million is currently listed as eight by the number cases on the global ranking provided by the US Johns Hopkins Institute. Mexico now has about as many coronavirus cases than Spain, but the EU country has a much smaller population of 47 million.

The US,  Brazil, and Russia, remain at the top of the list.

00:12 German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has called for nationwide free coronavirus testing for all, departing from the targeted testing approach preferred by Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn.

In an interview with the newspaper Welt am Sonntag, the politician backed fellow CSU member and Bavaria State Premier Markus Söder’s approach. Bavaria is currently the only German state to order free tests for the entire population.

“We have to be consistent in fighting a potentially life-threatening infection,” Seehofer said. “So far, we have no clarity about the actual occurrence of infection in the state.”

In practice, this would mean paying for the tests in cases where it is not covered by health insurance. Seehofer also said that the cost of conducting widespread mass testing “can only be primarily covered by the federal government.”

Spahn has voiced concerns over mass tests as it may result in false positives.

00:05 South Africa has reported its highest daily spike with 10,853 new infections, according to data released by the health ministry on Saturday. The country has reported a total of 187,977 confirmed cases of the virus.

With 74 fatalities reported, the death toll has risen to 3,026.

The surge comes as the country eases coronavirus restrictions to help save the economy, which is facing its worst slump in close to 90 years.

“What we have been seeking to do is to balance… saving lives of our people and also preserving livelihoods, and it’s a delicate balance,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday.

00:00 Catch up on yesterday’s coronavirus news here: Coronavirus latest: England eases COVID-19 lockdown

In reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, unless otherwise specified, DW uses figures provided by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Coronavirus Resource Center in the United States. JHU updates figures in real-time, collating data from world health organizations, state and national governments, and other public official sources, all of whom have their own systems for compiling information.

Germany’s national statistics are compiled by its public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). These figures depend on data transmission from state and local levels and are updated around once a day, which can lead to deviation from JHU.

see/ (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)

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