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German disease control chief warns of a ‘terrible Christmas’

BERLIN (NWN) – The head of Germany’s disease control agency has warned that the country is facing a “truly terrible Christmas” unless steps are taken to counter the sharp rise in coronavirus infections.

German lawmakers are debating on Thursday measures that would replace nationwide pandemic rules, which expire at the end of the month.

Germany’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, said on Thursday that 65,371 new confirmed cases were reported in a single day, which experts have been warning about for weeks.

“We are currently heading towards a serious emergency,” said agency director Lothar Weiler. “We’ll have a really terrible Christmas if we don’t take measures now.”

Weiler said Germany needed to increase its vaccination rates from 67.7% currently to more than 75%. Vaccination rates in some regions of Germany are as low as 57.6%.

He called for clubs and bars to close, an end to large-scale events, and limit access to many parts of public life to people with a vaccine or recovery certificate.

Weiler warned that hospitals across Germany are struggling to find beds for COVID-19 patients and those with other illnesses.

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