Germany’s Covid-19 situation does not allow “all-clear”: RKI

Pedestrians wearing face masks cross a street during the COVID-19 epidemic in Berlin, capital of Germany.

Berlin, (Asian independent)┬áThe Covid-19 situation in Germany was still characterised by a high level of case numbers, making it “too early for the all-clear,” said Lars Schaade, vice president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), at a regular press conference.

Despite the ongoing lockdown, the number of Covid-19 infections in Germany added 27,543 new cases within one day on Friday, some 1,700 more than a week ago, according to RKI, the federal government agency for disease control and prevention, Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.

An increasing number of Covid-19 patients had to be treated in hospitals in Germany. “The numbers are rising, particularly among 35- to 59-year-olds,” said Schaade. More than 80 percent of patients in intensive care units need artificial respiration.

The incidence rate of reported Covid-19 cases per 100,000 citizens in Germany in the past seven days also rose from around 161 on the previous day to 164 on Friday, according to the RKI.

In the fight against the third wave of Covid-19, the German government fast-tracked an amendment to the country’s Infection Protection Act, centralizing the states’ authority over health measures and instituting a nationwide emergency brake, which will take effect on Saturday.

In counties and cities that register a seven-day incidence rate above 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for more than three days in a row, measures including stricter contact restrictions both indoors and outdoors, night-time curfews and shop closures apply automatically.

At the press conference, Minister of Health Jens Spahn defended the nationwide mandatory emergency brake and the related measures for a transition period. “The point now is to break the wave,” said Spahn. Only then could restrictions be relaxed significantly in Germany.

Spahn also dampened expectations about the easing of Germany’s vaccine priority scheme. In June, vaccine priority for the elderly could end, but “that does not mean that we can then already vaccinate everyone in June.”

Almost 5.8 million people in Germany had been fully vaccinated as of Thursday, bringing the country’s vaccination rate to 7 per cent, according to the RKI. On Thursday, 606,283 vaccine doses were administered in the country.

To date, almost 3.25 million Covid-19 infections have been officially registered in Germany since the outbreak of the pandemic. The death toll climbed to 81,158 on Friday, according to the RKI.