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In Germany, the important R number of Covid-19 cases has risen to 2.88

In Ireland, health authorities have repeatedly stressed the need to keep the R number below 1.

Soldiers in protective suits and wearing mouth-and-nose masks go to the homes to test more people for the coronavirus.
Soldiers in protective suits and wearing mouth-and-nose masks go to the homes to test more people for the coronavirus.
Image: David Inderlied DPA/PA Images

THE COVID-19 R number in Germany has risen sharply in recent days, but health authorities have stressed that the rise is mainly due to smaller regional outbreaks. 

A further 687 new cases were noted in the country yesterday by the Robert Koch Institute, but 549 of these came from the North Rhine-Westphalia region of the country. 

The all-important R number over the last four days is 2.88. This reproductive rate roughly means that for every 100 people infected with Covid-19, they will pass it on to 288 people. 

On Friday, this figure was 1.06 and 1.79 on Saturday. 

Having an R number above 1.0 is seen as indicative of the virus being likely to increase among the population. 

In Ireland, health authorities have repeatedly stressed the need to keep the R number below 1 and it has stayed consistently below that in recent weeks

Germany uses two R figures – over four days and over seven days.

“In light of the still low daily case numbers, both R-values should be interpreted with caution and in their course over several days,” the Robert Koch Institute said.

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It said the sharp rise in recent days is “mainly related to local outbreaks” and singled out “the outbreak in North Rhine-Westphalia playing a particularly important role in this context”. 

That specific outbreak in that area has centred on workers in an abbatoir with hundreds of workers at the plant testing positive. One of Germany’s biggest meat processers Toennies has shut its plant following the outbreak. 

The Robert Koch Institute said: “Since case numbers in Germany are generally low, these local outbreaks have a relatively strong influence on the value of the reproduction number.

“Further developments need to be monitored closely during the upcoming days, especially in regard to whether case numbers are increasing outside of outbreak contexts.”

About the author:

Sean Murray

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