Germany’s Covid-19 infection rate is at its highest ever: Doctors warn operations will have to be cancelled so they can cope
- Germany’s infection rate has risen above previous high from December last year
- The number of infections rose 15,513 on Sunday, health officials have confirmed
- Doctors warned operations will have to be cancelled so they can cope with surge
Germany’s coronavirus infection rate has risen to its highest level since the start of the pandemic, public health figures showed on Monday, and doctors warned they will need to postpone scheduled operations in coming weeks to cope.
The seven-day incidence rate – the number of people per 100,000 to be infected over the last week – rose to 201.1, higher than a previous record of 197.6 in December last year, the figures from the Robert Koch Institute showed on Monday.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose 15,513 from Sunday and the number of deaths increased by 33 to a total of 96,558.
Germany’s coronavirus infection rate has risen to its highest level since the start of the pandemic, public health figures showed on Monday
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 4,782,546 from 4,767,033 a day earlier (pictured, a medical worker administers a test in Frankfurt)
Doctors have warned they will need to postpone scheduled operations in coming weeks to cope with the surge in cases
Bavaria state premier Markus Soeder called for more decisive action in view of the new peak in the incidence rate.
More needs to be done ‘than a little compulsory testing in old people’s homes’, he told Deutschlandfunk radio.
He called for tests to be offered free of charge again, vaccination centres to be reactivated and for states and the federal government to coordinate their strategies.
Germany has abolished free testing to incentivise people to get shots but the government has struggled to find ways to pep up its much-slowed vaccination campaign.
At least 67 per cent of the population of 83 million is fully vaccinated, according to official figures, which authorities say isn’t enough.
Unlike some other European countries, it has balked at making vaccinations mandatory for any professional group.
As at many times during the pandemic, Germany has a patchwork of regional rules.
Germany has abolished free testing to incentivise people to get shots but the government has struggled to find ways to pep up its vaccination campaign (pictured, a testing centre in Berlin)
At least 67 per cent of the population of 83 million is fully vaccinated, according to official figures, which authorities say isn’t enough (pictured, people wait for the jab in Berlin)
Most places restrict access to many indoor facilities and events to people who have been vaccinated, have recovered or been tested – with the latter now being excluded in some areas. Those rules are often enforced laxly.
Rules on whether schoolchildren must wear masks in class vary from state to state.
And officials now advocate booster vaccinations for everyone who got their initial shots six months ago or more.
Christian Karagiannidis, scientific director at the DIVI association for intensive and emergency medicine, said an expected rise in coronavirus cases in coming weeks meant some scheduled operations would have to be postponed.
‘We will only be able to cope with the burden of all emergencies if savings are made somewhere else, though definitely not with surgical cancer treatments,’ he told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.
Germany has already had to relocate some patients from regions with overburdened hospitals.
The three German parties working to agree on a coalition government by early December will present proposals to combat a fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country on Monday, daily newspaper Die Welt said. The plan includes the reintroduction of free tests.
Germany’s figures mirror a trend that is building across much of Europe with the UK, Netherlands, Belgium and Poland among dozens of countries seeing infection rates rise as colder weather arrives.
While restrictions vary across nations, none have so-far tightened their measures in response to the rising cases – with the exception of Latvia and Russia, both of which have low vaccination rates.
Latvia became the first European country to enter a winter lockdown in late October as Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins announced a month-long shutdown of the country in response to rocketing cases.
Russia – where just 32 per cent of the population has been double-jabbed – is also suffering a brutal wave of Covid infections and deaths that has seen regions begin to reimpose restrictions, though the government denies it is reentering lockdown.
The Netherlands, Belgium, Lithuania, Croatia and Estonia have also seen surges in Covid cases.
Latvia has become the only European country to reimpose lockdown so-far amid soaring infections which the country’s prime minister has put down to the low vaccination rate, with just 57 per cent double jabbed (pictured, medics set up a temporary ward inside a Latvian hospital)
Germany currently has some of the most-restrictive Covid measures in Europe, with widespread use of Covid passports and has made medical-grade masks mandatory in indoor public spaces – though is still seeing cases rise
It comes as World Health Organisation Europe chief Hans Kluge warned the continent was ‘back at the epicentre of the pandemic’ amid a soaring number of infections.
With 78 million cases in the WHO’s European region – which spans 53 countries and territories and includes several nations in Central Asia – the cumulative toll now exceeds that of South East Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean region, the Western Pacific, and Africa combined, the organisation said.
Kluge said: ‘The current pace of transmission across the 53 countries of the European Region is of grave concern,’ adding that one reliable projection would mean ‘another half a million COVID-19 deaths’ by February if the current trajectory continued.
Kluge blamed the caseload on Europe’s ‘insufficient vaccination coverage’.
While Britain was able to get on top of their world-beating vaccine rollout and administer 20 million jabs within a few weeks of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines being approved, EU leaders lagged behind in implementing a vaccine plan.
Countries such as France and Germany went back-and-forth about whether to rollout the AstraZeneca jab, which sowed doubts among the public and led to a low uptake of the vaccines.
In countries such as the UK where cases have risen to 41,299, their effective vaccine-roll out has meant deaths are much lower than during the peak of the pandemic.
‘This reflects the life-saving efforts of vaccines and the Herculean task of health authorities, health workforce and communities to develop, administer and accept vaccines,’ he said.
The World Health Organisation’s Europe Director Hans Kluge (pictured) last week blamed the continent’s heavy caseload on its ‘insufficient vaccination coverage’
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