There are “clear signs” that the new wave of coronavirus infections could hit Germany even harder than before, senior health officials have said. The announcement was made amid sharp increase in new cases in the country.
“At the moment, the figures are rising too fast and the variants are making the situation especially dangerous,” Germany’s Minister of Health Jens Spahn said at a press conference on Friday. The situation is now so serious that the country faces the risk of its health system reaching “breaking point” in April.
Nearly 21,600 new cases, which is around 4,000 more than recorded a week ago, were reported by Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases on Friday. The seven-day incidence rate rose to 119 new cases per 100,000 people, and the reported death toll rose to over 75,600 in total. If the spread is not curbed, “it could be 100,000 [new cases] per day,” head of the RKI Lothar Wieler told the media at the conference.
It “could be even worse than the first two waves,” Wieler added. The current increase might also be “harder to curb,” as the new Covid-19 variants are more virulent and contagious.
In order not to make the spread even worse, the senior officials called for reducing social contacts during the upcoming Easter days. If the situation progresses as feared, Germany’s hospitals could become overloaded in the next few weeks.
The health minister also announced that all airline passengers entering Germany will be required to provide a negative Covid-19 test result.
Earlier this week, Germany extended its lockdown measures, introduced last November. Previously implemented until the end of March, restrictions will now be in force until at least April 18. “We basically have a new pandemic,” Chancellor Angela Merkel has said.
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