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German Health Minister Says COVID-19 Situation ‘Serious’

Germany’s acting health minister, Jens Spahn, warned Friday the latest surge of COVID-19 infections in the country is serious, saying if nothing is done, the rate of new cases could keep doubling every two weeks.

The country’s Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases (RKI) reported 48,640 new cases Friday, just below the record 50,000 new daily cases reported Thursday. A week earlier, the rate had been 33,000.

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin with RKI President Lothar Wieler, Spahn said the overall seven-day rate of infection is more than 260 per 100,000 people, and Wieler said in some regions, the rate is anywhere from 500 to 1000 per 100,000 people.

Earlier this year, a rate of over 100 cases per 100,000 people would activate government COVID-19 restrictions in the country, including closing some businesses and mandatory mask rules.

The RKI’s Wieler told reporters infection rates are high in the Saxony, Thuringia and Bavaria, areas, states that also have low vaccination rates. He said those areas are seeing hospitals and clinics that are nearing capacity, putting people seeking treatment for other emergencies at risk.

Spahn said the good news is the overall speed of vaccinations is increasing and vaccine orders from the states are going up. He said the government delivered 4.3 million doses of vaccine this week, four times the number in previous weeks.

Speaking earlier Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said people have a duty to be inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine as a way of protecting not only themselves, but others as well.

She made the comments in a virtual conversation with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Source: Voice of America