German infections see highest jump in months

The rising numbers follow the easing of restrictions and relaunch of travel across much of Europe

Germany's official coronavirus caseload on Wednesday witnessed its sharpest daily jump since early May, dpa reported. Quoting data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the government's agency for disease control, it said that there were 1,226 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total confirmed in the country so far to 218,519.

A total of 9,207 people have died after catching the virus in Germany, up six since Tuesday.

Additionally, in its latest situation report, dated Tuesday, the RKI said the number of districts reporting zero COVID-19 cases over a period of seven days had dropped significantly. 

The report mentioned a "markedly increasing trend" in the western state of North Rhine Westphalia and the northern port city of Hamburg, while infection rates were also higher than average in the capital Berlin and the central state of Hesse. 

There have also been over 400 cases in the southern Bavarian district of Dingolfing-Landau among harvest workers and employees of a canning company, the institute said.

"This trend is concerning," it wrote.

"This is worrying, without a doubt," Health Minister Jens Spahn told the Deutschlandfunk radio broadcaster, commenting on the rising number of cases.

"Here we see that, as a result of returning travellers, as well as parties of all kinds ... we have smaller and larger outbreaks in almost all regions of the country," he said.

The minister urged citizens to remain "very, very vigilant."

The rising coronavirus numbers follow the easing of restrictions and the relaunch of travel across much of Europe. It remains to be seen what effect the country's gradual return to schools after the summer break will have on the trend, with the 16 states taking varying precautionary measures.

On Wednesday, students in North Rhine Westphalia, Germany's most populous state, returned to class.

It is the first region to make masks mandatory even during lessons, with other state authorities, including Berlin, having taken a softer approach.

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