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Germany's Coronavirus Growth Curve Shows Signs of Flattening

Medical employees wait to carry out tests at a coronavirus test center for public service employees, in Munich, Germany, March 23, 2020.

The head of Germany's public health institute says there are signs that the exponential growth curve for the country's coronavirus infections is flattening for the first time.

Lothar Wieler said Monday that it appears the curve is "flattening off slightly," but said he would not be able to confirm the trend definitively until Wednesday.

Wieler, who heads Germany's Robert Koch Institute, said he is optimistic that social distancing measures the country is taking are working to slow the spread of the virus.

On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel further restricted people's movements in the country, saying that human contact in public spaces should be limited to no more than two people from different households.

In another development Monday, German health officials said Merkel tested negative for the coronavirus in her first screening. Merkel has been in isolation since Sunday after learning that one of her doctors had tested positive for the virus.

There are more than 26,000 cases of coronavirus in Germany and more than 100 deaths. The death toll in Germany is far lower than other European countries with similarly high caseloads, including Italy and Spain.