Coronavirus infections are rising in Germany, South Korea and China, days after the countries eased their lockdown restrictions.
In Germany, the reproduction rate – the estimated number of people a confirmed patient infects – is now above 1.
This means the number of infections is now rising in the country.
The report came as thousands of Germans gathered on Saturday calling for a total end to the lockdown.
Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a broad relaxation of national restrictions on Wednesday after talks with the leaders of Germany’s 16 states.
All shops are allowed to reopen, pupils will gradually return to class and the Bundesliga – Germany’s top football league – will restart as soon as next weekend.
But there were protests across the country on Saturday, as some called for measures to be lifted even faster.
Germany has the seventh-highest number of confirmed cases in the world, with latest RKI data on Sunday showing the reported infected tally at 169,218 and a reported death toll of 7,395.
Similarly, South Korean officials scrambled on Monday to contain a new coronavirus outbreak, searching for thousands of people who may have been infected in a cluster of cases linked to nightclubs and bars in the densely populated capital city of Seoul.
The Asian country has been lauded for its quick action on the pandemic, significantly reducing the rate of new infections in recent weeks.
Officials reported 35 new infections across the country as of midnight on Sunday, the highest numbers in more than a month.
The spike in cases comes just as the South Korean government was easing some social distancing restrictions and moving to fully reopen schools and businesses.
The 69 cases reported by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) over the past 48 hours were equivalent to the number of cases it recorded over the entire previous week.
Seoul’s education superintendent proposed delaying reopening schools scheduled to begin on Wednesday by one week in light of the new outbreak, Yonhap news agency reported.
Meanwhile, Wuhan, the original epicentre of the new coronavirus outbreak in China, reported on Monday its first cluster of infections since a lockdown on the central Chinese city was lifted a month ago, stoking concerns of a wider resurgence of the disease.
The new infections add a layer of caution to efforts to lower coronavirus-related restrictions across China as businesses restart and individuals go back to work.
Wuhan reported five new confirmed cases, all of whom live in the same residential compound.
All of the latest confirmed cases were previously classified as asymptomatic, people who test positive for the virus and are capable of infecting others but do not show clinical signs such as a fever.