Germany’s coronavirus outbreak is now “under control and manageable,” according to German Health Minister Jens Spahn.
“We have managed to move from dynamic to linear growth, infection rates have fallen significantly,” Spahn told the press.
The rate of infection – in other words, the average number of people to get infected by one coronavirus patient – has now dropped below one, according to an estimation by the Robert Koch Institute, the federal authority in charge of monitoring the pandemic.
The news comes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Wednesday that schools and shops smaller than 800 square metres would be allowed to reopen from 4 May.
Meanwhile, large public gatherings including religious services will remain banned until at least 31 August, and places like bars, cafés, cinemas, music venues and restaurants will stay closed. In addition, the use of face maks is “strongly recommended” in shops and on public transport.
Germany has tested 1.7 million people, according to Spahn. As of Friday, the country counted 133,830 official cases of coronavirus and 3,868 deaths, according to the Robert Koch Institute.
In Belgium, too, there is good news. “The figures show that the strength of the virus is decreasing,” said Yves Stevens, a spokesperson for the National Crisis Centre, on Friday. Belgium has counted 36,138 since the start of the pandemic and 5,161 people are currently hospitalised as a result of the coronavirus.