By Reuters Staff

FILE PHOTO: A man walks along a closed shop at the main shopping street Hohe Strasse amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Cologne, Germany, March 18, 2021. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen

BERLIN (Reuters) – The rate at which Germans are getting infected with the coronavirus has jumped above the level at which authorities say healthcare systems will be overburdened, raising pressure on political leaders to tighten lockdown measures.

National and regional leaders are due to meet by videoconference on Monday to decide on the next round of measures to deal with the pandemic. At their last meeting early this month, they agreed on a cautious opening, over the objections of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who warned that more infectious variants meant the pandemic would be hard to control.

According to the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases, the number of cases per 100,000 population over a week stood at 103.9 on Sunday, above the 100 threshold at which intensive care units can no longer keep up.

Public fatigue over lockdown measures, now in their fourth month, is growing but the numbers suggest state premiers may be forced to pull the emergency brake they agreed to on March 2, reversing the opening of some shops.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 13,733 to 2,659,516, according to the RKI. The reported death toll rose by 99 to 74,664, the tally showed.