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The coronavirus reproduction rate in Germany rose to 1.1, scientists announced on Saturday after Germany loosened many of its restrictions.

That rate, which assumes statistical lag in data delivered, is the key measure used by Germany's pandemic overseer, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) based in Berlin.

On Wednesday, as Chancellor Angela Merkel and state premiers announced easing of social distancing coupled with wearing masks, the rate was 0.65.

Saturday's figure meant that one patient infects at least another. The rise made it necessary to "watch the development very carefully in the next days, said the RKI.

Its overall figures for Saturday documented 169,551 confirmed cases of infection (1,251 more than Friday), 7,369 deaths since early March, and 143,300 persons declared recovered.

Again topping infection data were Germany's southern states Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria and the northern city state of Hamburg.

Warning that Covid-19 remained a potentially fatal infection, the RKI said patients occupied 19,732 beds — 1,650 in intensive care — with another 12,096 beds ready in reserve at 1,226 clinics across the nation.

Unpersuaded, several thousands of people protested in major German cities Saturday, including conspiracy theorists prominent in social media.

An Infratest/dimap survey released midweek showed that 67% of respondents across Germany were'satisfied' to 'very satisfied' with the federal response to the pandemic — despite fears of becoming infected and losing jobs.

Setback for football

A setback emerged Saturday for the Germany Football League's (DFL) plan to restart play on May 16 with second tier Dynamo Dresden quarantined after two positive tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the pandemic.

Dynamo Dresden on its website said tests done on Friday revealed the two cases of infection and local authorities had sent the entire team, including coaches and support staff, into isolation.

"In the past few weeks we have put an enormous amount of effort, both in terms of personnel and logistics, into strictly implementing all the prescribed medical and hygienic measures," said sporting director Ralf Minge.

He said Dynamo Dresden "will not be able to train or participate in games for the next 14 days."

In a first wave of testing announced Thursday, the DFL had already listed 10 positive cases among 1,724 players and staff at the top 36 clubs and two more in the second tier after a two-month contest suspension.

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