Germany's COVID-19 incidence falls to lowest in 2 weeks

FILE PHOTO: People enjoy the sunset ahead of a curfew as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Frankfurt, Germany, April 23, 2021. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's seven-day average of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people fell on Thursday for the third day in a row to 155 - its lowest level in two weeks, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The incidence figure - a key metric the German government is using to determine when to tighten or ease the lockdown - hit 169 on Monday, but has fallen each day since then. The last time it was under 160 was on April 14, when the incidence was 153.

Germany has been struggling to contain a third wave of infections, with efforts complicated by the more contagious B117 variant, which first emerged in Britain, and a relatively slow start to its national vaccination campaign.

Parts of Germany imposed tougher lockdown rules at the weekend after Chancellor Angela Merkel drew up legislation to give the federal government more powers after some of the 16 federal states refused stricter measures.

The new law enables the government to impose curfews between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in districts where cases exceed 100 per 100,000 residents on three consecutive days. The rules also include stricter limits to private gatherings and shopping.

Schools will have to close and return to online lessons if cases reach 165 per 100,000 residents on three consecutive days.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose by 24,736 to 3,357,268 on Thursday, almost 5,000 fewer than a week ago. The death toll rose by 264 to 82,544.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson, editing by Kirsti Knolle)

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