Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases have increased by 2,055 to 152,438, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday, marking a second day of deceleration after three days of rises in new infections.
On Friday, confirmed coronavirus cases had increased by 2,337. The reported death toll rose by 179 to 5,500, the tally showed on Saturday.
Even as Germany begins easing curbs on public life to halt contagion of the virus, authorities are busy ramping up their capacity to deal with a second wave of infections.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly warned that Germany must not rest on its laurels, even if the infection rate has dropped, saying the country is still "on thin ice."
Virologist Christian Drosten of Berlin's Charite hospital has also warned that the virus could return with a "totally different force".
"The virus will continue to spread in the course of the next weeks and months," Drosten told public broadcaster NDR, adding that a second wave would be dangerous as it could pop up "everywhere at the same time."
"We may be in the process of completely squandering our headstart," he said, warning against complacency.
Thus Germany, which has won international praise for its nationwide testing system and huge capacity for treating patients, is still throwing vast resources at increasing the number of intensive care beds equipped with ventilators.
From the start of the crisis, Germany had much more breathing room than its European neighbors, with 33.9 intensive care beds per 100,000 inhabitants compared to 8.6 in Italy and 16.3 in France.
The country has since drastically expanded intensive care and screening capacities.
"Germany is prepared for a possible second wave," said Gerald Gass, president of the German Hospitals Society (DKG).
"In the coming months, we plan to keep around 20% of our beds with respiratory assistance free and we want to be able to free up a further 20% at 72 hours notice... if a second wave comes," Gass told AFP.
With Germany's health system yet to become overburdened, Gass has called on hospitals to slowly return to treating patients whose cases have been suspended over the course of the crisis as they are deemed to require less time-pressing operations.
"In general, our hospitals are less busy now than they are usually," he said.
Berlin's current strategy is to pursue a step-by-step return to normalcy, accompanied by hundreds of thousands of tests a week.
Merkel has said the aim is to be able to return to a stage where infection numbers are low enough to allow contact chains to be traced and isolated to prevent flare-ups elsewhere.
To that end, a contact tracing app is expected to be rolled out in the coming weeks.
Masks are now also obligatory on public transport across the country and, in some states, in shops as well.
"We have now learned that a dynamic development in infections means an immediate burden for the health system," said Gass.
"That means we need to use tests to very quickly identify what effect the step-by-step lifting of restrictions is having."
Worldwide, the new coronavirus has infected more than 2.8 million people and caused more than 197,000 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University count.
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