Coronavirus: German R rate spiking to 2.88 is 'concerning', says government minister

Workers at the Toennies meatpacking plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck, Germany, where hundreds of staff have tested positive for coronavirus (AP)

The large rise in Germany’s coronavirus R rate is “concerning”, the UK government has said.

Security minister James Brokenshire made the comment on Monday after it was revealed that Germany’s COVID-19 reproduction number had spiked dramatically.

The German transmission rate rose from 1.79 on Saturday to 2.88 on Sunday, according to official figures.

Security minister James Brokenshire says the rise in the German R rate is 'concerning'. (PA)

This means someone with coronavirus is infecting almost three other people on average, or that 100 people with COVID-19 are likely to infect a further 288. An R rate of less than 1 is needed to contain the virus.

Germany has blamed the spike on a series of local outbreaks.

It has previously been hailed as a model nation when it comes to combating the spread of coronavirus, and its R rate was below 1 back in April.

However, the number had jumped from 1.06 on Friday to 1.79 on Saturday before the latest increase.

Brokenshire told BBC Breakfast on Monday: "It is concerning to see the situation in Germany.

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“It's why we are informed in our actions by experience from around the world, why the chief scientific officer, the chief medical officer, speak to their counterparts in different parts of the world to ensure that we are applying the best learning and the best experience in informing our next steps."

On Friday the government said the UK’s R rate was between 0.7 and 0.9 as the coronavirus threat level was reduced.

The figure in Germany is published by the Robert Koch Institute for public health (RKI), which has been publishing the nation’s coronavirus statistics.

A protester outside an abattoir in Germany run by Toennies. (AP)

It said the new R number was based on a four-day average.

Last week, hundreds of workers at an abattoir in northern Germany tested positive for coronavirus.

Toennies, one of Germany’s largest meat processors, said it stopped slaughtering animals on Wednesday.

More than 1,000 workers were tested and 657 came back positive, it was reported.

RKI said that outbreaks had also been reported in hospitals, care homes and centres for asylum seekers.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 191,000 coronavirus cases in Germany, with 8,897 deaths.

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