Germany warns third wave of coronavirus will be the worst

The expert urges people to reduce their contacts over Easter

Clea Skopeliti
Friday 26 March 2021 17:31 GMT
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The healthcare system could hit a ‘breaking point’ in April
The healthcare system could hit a ‘breaking point’ in April (EPA)

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Germany’s third coronavirus wave may be the worst one yet, the head of the country’s public health institute has said as he warned that the infection count could surge up to the unprecedented figure of 100,000 cases a day.

Infection levels have risen in recent weeks, with the deteriorating situation blamed on the highly transmissible virus variant first discovered in the UK.

The possibility of 100,000 daily cases is staggering for the country of 83 million people. The highest daily number of new cases reported in Germany since the pandemic began is around 36,000, registered in December.

Speaking at a joint press conference with the health minister, president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler, said: “There are clear signals that this wave will be worse than the first two waves. We have some very difficult weeks ahead of us.”

Mr Wieler said that “of course, it could be 100,000 per day” and urged people to reduce their contacts over Easter.

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The news about Germany’s coronavirus situation follows remarks by chancellor Angela Merkel early this week.

Referring to the variant known as B117, the leader said on Tuesday: “We basically have a new pandemic. The mutation from Great Britain has taken over ... It is clearly more lethal, more contagious ... for longer.”

The German health minister Jens Spahn also warned that cases were likely to continue to climb.

Mr Spahn said that the country’s healthcare system could hit a “breaking point” in April, although he said he believed Germany was in the final stages of the “pandemic marathon”.

All airline passengers will have to show a negative coronavirus test before entering Germany from Monday, Mr Spahn announced.

However, he said the coronavirus situation was too severe for the testing requirement to have a sudden impact on infection levels.

“I am under no illusions,” he said. “This entry regulation alone is not the ‘game changer’ for the Easter period. The situation is too serious for that, and the infection rate in Germany is too strong.”

The minister encouraged local authorities to offer spare vaccine doses to anyone aged over 70 at the weekend as part of a wider, more flexible approach amid a slow start to the vaccination campaign. Around 10 per cent of Germans have now received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

It comes as the government announced earlier this week that it will extend its lockdown for a further three weeks in response to a rapidly rising rate of coronavirus infections.

Coronavirus infections have been rising across Europe in recent weeks as countries have been attempting to rapidly vaccinate their populations, despite issues with delays.

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