The head of Germany’s public health institute claims that the rate of new coronavirus infection in the country is showing signs of flattening, highlighting the success of social distancing measures adopted nationwide.

“We are seeing signs that the exponential growth curve is flattening off slightly,” said Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute. “But I will only be able to confirm this trend definitively on Wednesday.”

Germany was among the first European nations to introduce a raft of emergency response measures including school closures and the severe curtailment of public gatherings.

Wieler said previously that he expects between 60 and 70 percent of the world’s population will likely become infected before recovering and developing immunity, over the course of approximately two years. Wieler added that the final death rate is still unclear and will depend on the speed at which a vaccine can be mass produced once developed.

At present, Germany has a total of 24,904 cases of coronavirus infection with 94 deaths. Some 266 people have recovered from the virus. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been placed in quarantine after contact with a medic who subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus.

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