As of 08:15 (local time) on Wednesday, April 1, the Health Ministry confirmed 5453 new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases over a 24-hour period, bringing the total number nationwide to 67,366. The most affected states are Baden-Wuerttemberg (13,410), North Rhine-Westphalia (14,351), and Bavaria (16,497). The number of fatalities, however, remains relatively low compared to other countries, with 732 associated deaths nationwide.
On Sunday, March 22, authorities announced a ban on gatherings of more than two people. German citizens are also advised to keep contact with people outside of their own household to a minimum, and maintain a distance of at least 1.5 meters (5 ft), preferably two meters (6.5 ft), between themselves and others in public. The restrictions are expected to last for at least two weeks.
On Monday, March 16, the federal government and states agreed to close non-essential shops and public spaces until further notice. This includes restaurants, bars, clubs, theaters, museums, and churches. Grocery stores, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, post offices, and delivery services are excluded from the ban. Schools and day-care centers have also been closed.
Controls along Germany's borders with France, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Denmark remain in place. The restrictions do not affect German citizens re-entering the country and also do not apply to commuters and goods traffic. Travelers "without a valid reason to travel" will be prohibited from entering or leaving the country. The directive will remain in effect until further notice.
Further international spread of COVID-19 is to be expected over the coming days and weeks.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.