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Germany mistakenly neglects to tell 949 travelers they have coronavirus

The state of Bavaria said it had tracked down most of the people returning from abroad who tested positive for the COVID-19 but were not told about it.
Markus Soeder, the minister president of Bavaria, puts on a mask after a news conference in Nuremberg on Aug. 10.Nicolas Armer / Pool via AFP - Getty Images
/ Source: Reuters

BERLIN — The German state of Bavaria said Sunday that it has tracked down most of the people returning from abroad who tested positive for the coronavirus but were not told about it in a debacle that embarrassed a possible successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Bavaria said in a statement that it had found 903 of the 949 people who tested positive out of 44,000 travelers returning to the country, while it could not locate personal data for 46 of the positive tests.

The tests had been carried out up to two weeks ago at special centers that were opened with great fanfare in the southern state, but problems with data entry meant that the travelers had been waiting for their test results for days.

Bavaria's state premier, Markus Soeder, apologized for the problems Thursday, promising to fix the mistakes by adding extra staff. He also said he supported his health minister, who had offered to resign.

Some conservatives see Soeder as the best candidate to run for chancellor in next year's election, succeeding Merkel, who has said she will not run for a fifth term. Soeder has so far said he will stay in Bavaria.

Germany has managed to keep its numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths relatively low compared to other European countries, but there are concerns about a possible second wave of the pandemic.

On Saturday, Germany had its biggest increase in confirmed coronavirus cases since late April, a rise of 1,415, but the increase Sunday was just 625, although fewer cases are usually registered over weekends.