GERMANY’s coronavirus cases have spiked the third day in a row, with 3,380 new infections, as the country pushes ahead with easing lockdown restrictions.
Despite the rise in cases Health Minister Jens Spahn says hospitals have "at no time been overwhelmed so far".
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The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases confirmed today that coronavirus cases increased by 3,380 to 133,830 – Germany's biggest rise in six days – according to its data.
And the country's official death toll has jumped by 299 to 3,868, the tally showed.
This total differs from the current data shown on Johns Hopkins University's Covid-19 map, which says that 4,093 people have died from the killer bug in Germany.
Spahn said the coronavirus outbreak has become "manageable again" as the number of patients beating the disease has been higher than the number of new infections every day this week.
He told reporters that hospitals and surgeries have "at no time been overwhelmed so far".
Chancellor Angela Merkel said the virus reproduction or transmission rate in Germany was around one – meaning one person with the virus infects one other on average.
Germany will take small steps out of lockdown with the partial reopening of shops next week and schools from May 4, she added.
Its industrial powerhouse economy is set to take a heavy blow as it is reliant on exports which have fallen drastically as a result of the outbreak.
Merkel said completely lifting all restrictions, which will remain until April 19, too early could reverse the achievements so far.
However, she has been under pressure to reopen schools and factories after violence erupted in a backlash at lockdown measures.
Thugs attacked police who were enforcing social distancing rules.
One group in Frankfurt beat cops with iron bars when they tried to disperse the crowd.
Another 20-strong group pelted an officer with stones and roof tiles and iron bars, Deutsche Welle reported.
Germany's coronavirus death toll is still dwarfed by Spain's 19,315 coronavirus victims; Italy's death toll of 22,170; the close to 18,000 Covid-19 fatalities in France, and the UK's tally, which is hovering around the 14,000 mark.
None of these countries compare to America's death toll, however, which has soared beyond 34,000, according to Worldometers' latest stats.
Experts said during the early stages of the outbreak that fast and widespread testing gave Germany an edge.
Virologist Dr Christian Drosten estimated that Germany is now capable of conducting up to 500,000 tests a week.
Spain, meanwhile, tests between 105,000 and 140,000 people each week, about 20 per cent to 30 per cent of what Germany is capable of.
Italy has recently been conducting around 200,000 tests, but that reflects a significant recent ramp-up.
And in the UK, No 10 has said the country now has the capacity to test more than 35,000 hospital patients, NHS staff and care workers a day, reported The Guardian.
Yet authorities conducted just 15,994 tests in the 24 hours before 9am on Wednesday, it added.
To help Germany's gradual easing of lockdown measures, a coronavirus contact tracing app will be ready to download and use on smartphones in three to four weeks, said the Health Minister.
This will allow people to be alerted quickly when they have had been exposed to an infected person.
Developers are working hard on an app to make sure data protection standards are "as perfect as possible", Spahn told broadcaster ARD.
The Robert Koch health institute's contact tracing app is already ready and being tested.
But its launch will be coordinated with Germany's moves to ease restrictions on movement.
Reuters said that German authorities are cautious about using digital technology to fight the coronavirus.
Bosses are restrained by Europe's strict data privacy laws and wary of public scepticism towards any surveillance reminiscent of Nazi- or communist-era rule.
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