BERLIN (AP) – Germany’s National Center for Disease Control announced a record number of new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, as one of the country’s leading virologists warned that another isolation would be needed if vaccinations did not speed up quickly.
The 39,676 cases reported by the Robert Koch Institute surpassed the previous daily record of 37,120 new cases reported on Friday. The institute said the infection rate in Germany has risen to 232.1 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days.
“We have a real emergency right now,” said Christian Drosten, head of virology at Berlin’s Charite Hospital, about the situation in many intensive care units across the country. “We have to do something right now.”
Government officials have repeatedly said they have no intention of introducing quarantine, but instead urged residents to get vaccinated.
There is currently an interim national government in Germany following the federal elections in September. The parties, expected to form the next government, plan to pass legislation this week that will allow the announcement of a “national epidemic situation” from March 2020, expiring at the end of the month, and provide a new legal basis for the introduction of the coronavirus. measures.
As in other periods of the pandemic, the country has a patchwork of regional rules. In most places, access to many indoor spaces and activities is restricted to people who have been vaccinated against the virus, recovered from COVID-19, or recently tested negative – the latter category has now been excluded in some areas. However, the rules are often not followed carefully.
In recent days, several hospitals have said that they are again working at their limits and there are so many COVID-19 patients in intensive care units that they cannot accept new patients at the moment.
Berlin-based agency Charite said Tuesday that it had to cancel planned surgeries due to the large number of staff caring for people with COVID-19. The authorities said most of the latter patients were not vaccinated.
According to official figures, about 67% of Germany’s 83 million people are fully vaccinated. Unlike some other European countries, the government has refused to make vaccines mandatory for any professional group.
“We probably need to control infection activity again with contact measures – not possible, but necessary,” he said.
“We are in a bad situation: we have 15 million people who could have been vaccinated and should have been vaccinated,” Drosten said, adding that at least another 100,000 people could die from COVID-19 if vaccinated won’t start quickly.
According to official figures, 96,963 people have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic in Germany.
The country’s Standing Committee on Vaccinations, Stiko, released a new recommendation on Wednesday that says all people under the age of 30 receive only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Stiko said the recommendation is based on recent analyzes showing that the rare side effect, inflammation of the heart and chest, was more common in recipients of the Moderna vaccine younger than 30 years old than in those receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Side effects are rare, and in most cases, people recover without any problems, the committee said.
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