Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Tuesday that the number of new coronavirus infections in Germany is likely to reach 20,000 a day by the end of this week.
“We are dealing with exponential growth,” Altmaier told a German-French economic conference via video link in Berlin. “In Germany the number of new infections is rising by 70-75% compared to the week before.”
Altmaier’s forecast shows that Germany is struggling with a faster-than-expected rise in coronavirus cases. Chancellor Angela Merkel said there could be 19,200 cases a day by Christmas in late September.
The number of coronavirus cases confirmed on Tuesday increased by 11,409.
Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s 16 states will meet on Wednesday to decide on additional restrictive measures to slow the second wave of the epidemic.
The Daily Bild reported that the Chancellor is planning a “lock-out light” that focuses mainly on closing bars and restaurants to try to contain the spread of infections.
Altmaier said rising infections across Europe and corresponding barriers to everyday life will make it difficult for economic growth to recover as quickly as previously hoped.
However, he did not expect supply chains to disrupt, as he did in the first wave of the virus in the spring.
A source told Reuters Monday that the German government expects Europe’s largest economy to shrink by 5.5% this year, with a slightly more optimistic forecast for a 5.8% decline in gross domestic product. -Reuters-