GERMANY has no chance of avoiding a feared second wave of coronavirus and a draconian lockdown, a leading virologist has warned.
Dr Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit said the country of 83million people is facing “drastic measures” if Germany’s hospitals were swamped by Covid-19 cases.
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Fears of a second wave are growing in Germany after 4,127 new cases were recorded last week, up from 2,385 two weeks ago.
Today alone there were 684 new cases, meaning cases have risen by 600 or more for four of the last six days, which has not been seen since June.
But experts are especially concerned because Covid-19 is spreading across the country, rather than being confined to localised clusters, with the national R rate now regularly above 1.0.
Angela Merkel has previously warned Germany’s health system could be overwhelmed if the rate is even slightly above one.
Dr Schmidt-Chanasit, a virologist at the University of Hamburg, told ARD the situation could “very quickly get out of control”.
He said: “Now travellers are being added to the mix as well — there are many clusters which politicians but also scientists will have to to react to.”
Asked about a possible second lockdown, he said: “If we really get a second wave — I define that as our health system being overwhelmed — then we won’t be able to get around very dramatic, very drastic measures.”
Six new deaths today brought the total to 9,128, although this remains much lower than in Britain, Spain, Italy or France.
If we really get a second wave… then we won’t be able to get around very dramatic, very drastic measures
Robert Koch Institute president Lothar Wieler said: “We have to realise that we have an increasing number of cases in Germany.
“I am very concerned about the latest developments in case numbers in Germany.”
Until recently the number of deaths across the country had been dropping, he pointed out.
But one expert said that it is “too early” to say whether some European countries were experiencing a second wave.
Dr Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, said: “It is a little early to say definitively whether some European countries, such as Spain or Germany, are experiencing the start of a second wave, or simply seeing spikes in their caseloads.
Meanwhile in the UK, health leaders have “very high” levels of concern about the possibility of a second spike.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said that the combination of a spike of cases with “exhausted staff” while the NHS tries to rebuild services could prove “challenging”.
Yesterday Boris Johnson indicated that quarantine restrictions, which have been imposed on Spain, could be done on further European countries if a “second wave” of coronavirus hits the continent.
The Prime Minister insisted the Government would not hesitate to act if flare-ups of coronavirus occurred in other destinations.