Berlin, (Asian independent) Germany has registered 17,561 new Covid-19 cases, pushing the tally to 833,307, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said.
The infection rate in Europe’s most populous country continued to decrease as daily new infections declined by almost a thousand cases compared with Wednesday last week, according to the RKI.
Infections in Germany had been rising until last week and a partial month-long lockdown was already enforced in November, Xinhua reported.
A week before the next scheduled conference of the heads of Germany’s federal states with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Markus Soeder, minister president of Bavaria, warned that the measures to counter the high Covid-19 infection rate could be extended.
The upcoming meeting should send a “clear signal” about what life would be like in December and beyond the Christmas holidays, said Soeder, stressing that schools in Germany should “remain open as long as possible.”
He said there was a need to tighten Covid-19 measures at public hotspots.
Also on Wednesday, German lawmakers voted by a majority to amend legislation that will strengthen the government’s ability to issue restrictions by decree in response to the pandemic, according to the German Press Agency (dpa).
The bill passed by 415 votes to 236, with eight abstentions.
The German government hopes that the amended legislation will protect anti-viral measures, such as business closures, contact restrictions and mask rules, from being challenged in the country’s courts, dpa said.
The amendments were also approved by the upper chamber, the Bundesrat, and signed into law by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. They come into force with publication in the Federal Law Gazette, dpa reported.
Meanwhile, German pharmaceutical company BioNTech had “initiated the first rolling regulatory submission processes for our Covid-19 vaccine program in the EU (European Union), the UK (United Kingdom) and Canada” and was scaling up production capacities to “prepare for a potential global launch of our Covid-19 vaccine, if approved,” Ugur Sahin, chief executive officer (CEO) of BioNTech, has said.
Last week, BioNTech and US company Pfizer claimed that their Covid-19 vaccine candidates showed more than 90 per cent efficacy in volunteers with no proven previous Covid-19 infection.
To date, the vaccine has not shown negative side effects, such as a higher risk for developing autoimmune diseases, despite the short time in which it was developed, Klaus Cichutek, president of the German Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI), responsible for the approval of vaccines in Germany, told the national broadcaster ZDF on Wednesday.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries including Germany, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.