Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases increase by 583

People sit on the steps of the Burgplatz with painted lines for social distance at the Rhine promenade in Duesseldorf, Germany. As a precautionary measure, the city of Duesseldorf is preparing for further increases, after 16.6 people per 100,000 inhabitants have become infected with the coronavirus in Duesseldorf in the past seven days. EPA-EFE/SASCHA STEINBACH

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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 583 to 200,843, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday.

The reported death toll rose by 4 to 9,082, the tally showed.

Germany’s health minister urged the World Health Organization to speed up its review of how it has handled the coronavirus pandemic, apparently signalling Europe taking a tougher line on the United Nations body.

Berlin, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, has so far largely shielded the Geneva-based organisation from the most intense criticism by Washington, which wants to leave the WHO because of its alleged excessive closeness to China.

But now Germany seems to be taking a more assertive position.

“When it comes to reappraising the work of the WHO during the crisis, I had the opportunity to talk to director general Tedros [Adhanom Ghebreyesus] on Tuesday in Paris as well as two weeks ago in Geneva, and in both conversations I encouraged him very clearly to launch this independent commission of experts and to expedite its launch,” Jens Spahn told a news conference in Berlin.

The WHO said last week it was setting up an independent panel to review its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and the response by governments.

“The World Health Assembly resolution in May 2020 called for WHO to initiate such a panel and the panel has been set up to review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to Covid-19. This involves the global response, including but not limited to, WHO,” a spokesman for WHO said.

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