Germany virus death toll at 684, cases surpass 68,000

Death toll from the novel coronavirus in Germany rose to 687 on Tuesday, according to statistics released by the local health authorities.

Berlin-based website Coronavirus-Monitor, which compiles up-to-date numbers from the local authorities, reported 127 new deaths in the past 24 hours.

With 4,251 new cases, the number of people infected with the virus climbed to 68,180.

Meanwhile, growing number of deaths at nursing homes in recent days sparked concerns about the effectiveness of the current measures in care centers to combat the virus.

On Tuesday, authorities have confirmed that 18 residents of a nursing home in the northern German city of Wolfsburg died within a week, after being infected with the coronavirus.

Another care center in the southern Wuerzburg city reported 16 deaths from coronavirus.

In the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), so far 29 people died from the virus at elderly care homes, and 268 residents tested positive, according to officials.

NRW's Premier Armin Laschet called on citizens to adhere to the government's lockdown measures and imposed restrictions on families visiting nursing homes.

Nearly 800,000 elderly people in Germany are living at more than 14,000 care homes across the country.

Elderly people and people with pre-existing health conditions are considered to be most at risk of the coronavirus.

Germany is the third-worst-affected country by the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, but its death toll so far remained lower than the two hardest-hit countries, Italy and Spain.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the virus known as COVID-19 has spread to at least 179 countries and regions, according to the U.S-based Johns Hopkins University database.

The data shows the confirmed number of cases worldwide has surpassed 809,600, with the death toll over 40,600 and more than 174,000 recoveries.

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