BERLIN (Reuters) — The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 534 to 200,260, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday. The reported death toll rose by seven to 9,078, the tally showed. Earlier, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced steps to ease the coronavirus lockdown in Germany but at the same time launched an “emergency brake” mechanism allowing for renewed restrictions in case infections pick up again. Declaring an end to the first phase of the pandemic in Germany, Merkel said there was still a long way to go in the battle against the virus, which has battered Europe’s largest economy. The government will decide on an economic stimulus package in June, Merkel said, adding this was a “very ambitious” time frame. Germany went into lockdown in March to contain coronavirus contagion. Its reproduction rate has been falling for several days, and Merkel said it was now consistently below 1 – meaning a person with the virus infects fewer than one other on average. “We are at a point where our goal of slowing the spread of the virus has been achieved and we have been able to protect our health system…, so it has been possible to discuss and agree on further easing measures,” Merkel told reporters.