German Covid infection rate at new high as vaccinations slow

German Covid infection rate at new high as vaccinations slow

Berlin: Germany's Coronavirus infection rate climbed to its highest recorded level yet on Monday as what officials have called a pandemic of the unvaccinated gathers pace.

The national disease control centre, the Robert Koch Institute, said the country has seen 201.1 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days.

That was above the previous record of 197.6 from Dec. 22 last year. While it's still a lower rate than in several other European countries, it has set alarm bells ringing.

The seven-day infection rate has long ceased to be the only policy yardstick in Germany, with new hospital admissions now an important factor.

Those are currently at just under 4 per 100,000 residents over a week compared with a peak of about 15.5 last Christmas but officials say hospitals are filling up in badly affected areas. The disease control centre said Monday that 15,513 new COVID-19 cases were reported over the past 24 hours down from a record 37,120 on Friday, but figures are typically lower after the weekend.

Another 33 deaths were recorded, bringing Germany's total to 96,558.

Germany has struggled to find ways to pep up its much-slowed vaccination campaign.

At least 67 per cent of the population of 83 million is fully vaccinated, according to official figures, which authorities say isn't enough.

Unlike some other European countries, it has balked at making vaccinations mandatory for any professional group.

As at many times during the pandemic, Germany has a patchwork of regional rules.

Most places restrict access to many indoor facilities and events to people who have been vaccinated, have recovered or been tested with the latter now being excluded in some areas.

Those rules are often enforced laxly. Rules on whether schoolchildren must wear masks in class vary from state to state.

Free rapid tests for all were scrapped nearly a month ago in an effort to incentivise more people to get vaccinated.

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