Berlin | German health authorities on Thursday reported a sharp rise in COVID-19 contamination, alarming a “third wave” in the country fed mainly by variants of the coronavirus.
The number of new cases in one day in Germany reached 14,356 Thursday, the highest since January 28, according to figures released by the watch institute Robert Koch.
The incidence rate jumped to 69.1 from 65.4 on Wednesday. Over the past seven days, 61,005 people have fallen ill, up from 57,255 last week.
This rise in infections, after several weeks of decline, then stagnation, worries the health authorities.
Especially since the British variant of the coronavirus, considered to be more contagious, is rapidly establishing itself in the country: it now represents 55% of cases diagnosed, against 46% at the beginning of March, according to the Robert Koch institute.
“I must say that the third wave has already started in Germany”, alarmed Lothar Wieler, the president of the organization, during a meeting Wednesday with the association of journalists accredited to the UN in Geneva ( ACANU).
“We must vaccinate as much as possible, as soon as possible,” he urged, saying that the vaccination campaigns were already having “effects”.
In “people over 80 years”, vaccinated as a priority, “we are already seeing (…) a massive declining incidence rate,” he said.
But for the rest of the population, this rate “increases again”.
Lothar Wieler therefore recommends for the moment to “keep as much as possible the measures” of social restrictions against the virus.
However, in early March Germany presented a plan to relax restrictions against the pandemic.
After having closed all non-essential stores since December, Angela Merkel’s government has notably authorized the opening of bookstores, florists and driving schools.
Berlin has also loosened the constraints on private meetings, now possible between two households and up to five people.
As in many European countries, the slowness of the vaccination campaign is criticized in Germany.
Only 3.2% of the population received the doses of vaccine necessary for their immunity.