Germany recorded 33,949 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday over a 24-hour period, surpassing a record set in mid-December 2020, as the country was in the grip of its second wave of Covid.
In the same 24 hours last year, 165 people died from the disease.
“We are currently experiencing an unvaccinated pandemic,” Jens Spahn, Germany’s Health Minister, said at a press conference on Wednesday.
According to the University of Oxford’s Our World in Data project, only 67% of the population is fully vaccinated, placing Germany behind other members of the European Union like Italy, Portugal and Spain .
And in eastern and southern Germany, where vaccine skepticism is high, the vaccination rate is significantly lower than the national average.
The vaccine refusal appears to have fueled infection hotspots in several districts this week, such as Dresden in the east and Munich in the south, where the case rate has risen to more than 500 cases per 100 000 people per week.
The federal government, which under the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel closely managed the pandemic in its early stages, now appears to be struggling to control the situation. Mr Spahn was due to meet state-level health ministers on Thursday and Friday with the aim of persuading them to reopen vaccination centers which were closed this summer after demand fell.
Elections to replace Merkel took place in September. Lawmakers who will likely form the new government announced last week that they would not extend a federal state of emergency that would allow Berlin to establish Covid rules for the country, and leave it to the states to manage their own policies. when it comes to viruses.
On Friday, the government of the hard-hit eastern state of Saxony, which includes Dresden, is expected to pass laws requiring visitors to public places, such as hairdressers and museums, to present proof of vaccination or evidence of infection. past. The Bavarian government, which includes Munich, also tightened its rules on mask testing and requirements on Wednesday.