German Prez urges caution amid increasing COVID-19 cases

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has urged citizens to “show consideration, caution and responsibility” in the wake of increasing COVID-19 cases in the country.

“The irresponsibility of a few is a risk for us all,” Xinhua news agency quoted Steinmeier as saying in a video message on Monday.

“If we are not particularly careful now, we are endangering the health of many. And we also endanger the recovery of our society, our economy, our cultural life.”

Steinmeier addressed the nation after protests against COVID-19 restriction measures took place in Berlin on August 1.

Although organizers had initially announced up to half a million people, the rally was attended by 20,000 people, according to German police.

By keeping a minimum distance, by observing the rules of hygiene and by wearing mouth and nose protection in specified places, it had been possible to re-open restaurants and cafes and to ease travel restrictions in Germany, said Steinmeier.

“But the interim success must not make us careless… The summer mood is good for us all. But it must not lead us to become inattentive in our fight against the pandemic.

“Let us be particularly careful now, in our leisure time, at work, but also at our holiday destination and after returning from a journey,” said Steinmeier.

From August 1, all travellers returning to Germany from abroad were asked to be tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours after their return voluntarily and free of charge, according to the Ministry of Health.

Returnees from COVID-19 risk areas would have to undergo mandatory testing upon request when entering the country, if a corresponding order comes into force this week.

“The increasing number of infections in Germany is a clear warning signal,” said Minister of Health Jens Spahn, adding, “the coronavirus does not take a holiday”.

As of Tuesday, Germany accounted for a total of 212,111 COVID-19 cases, with 9,154 deaths.