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German public health institute targeted by arson attack as tensions rise over COVID-19 restrictions

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The damaged windows of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Oct.25, 2020. According to police, bottles and incendiary devices were thrown at the building.
The damaged windows of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Oct.25, 2020. According to police, bottles and incendiary devices were thrown at the building.   -   Copyright  Annette Riedl/dpa via AP
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There are growing signs of division in Germany over the country’s response to a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

While most Germans support the government’s handling of the pandemic, a small but noisy minority have been trying to downplay its dangers.

In one of the latest demonstrations against COVID-19 restrictions, protesters in Berlin even attacked the offices of Germany’s health authority, the Robert Koch Institute.

Authorities say the building was hit by Molotov cocktails and bottles on Sunday. A security guard was able to quickly extinguish the flames. No-one was injured.

Hours later, police cancelled another demonstration planned to take place in the city.

Also on Sunday, Germany’s national disease control centre reported 11,176 new daily infections, almost double the number reported a week ago. Another 29 people died of COVID-19, raising the country’s death toll to 10,032.

In the capital alone, more than 25,000 coronavirus cases have been registered since the pandemic began, making Berlin the city with the country’s highest rate of infections.

Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn, who has tested positive for COVID-19, has renewed his appeal to Germans to heed precautionary measures as space in hospital intensive care wards has again become scarce.

Watch Jona's update in the video player above.