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Germany has topped 100,000 daily coronavirus cases for the first time since the pandemic began as the Omicron variant races through the country’s population.
Wednesday figures from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the national disease control agency, showed 112,323 cases had been registered in 24 hours.
On Friday, the daily figures passed the 90,000-mark for the first time, and a week ago there were 80,430 new cases detected.
The seven-day incidence of infections per 100,000 people was at 584.4 on Wednesday, compared to 553.2 the day before and 407.5 a week earlier.
The head of the RKI, Lothar Wieler, spoke recently of a “new phase” of the pandemic as infections soar.
At present, comparatively few older people, who are particularly susceptible to severe cases of Covid-19, are infected.
The incidence among 5- to 14-year-olds is now around ten times higher than among older people and has more than doubled within a week.
Deaths seem to be on a downward trend: across Germany, 239 deaths with or from Covid-19 were recorded in the latest 24-hour period, compared to 384 a week earlier.
The now crucial measure of hospitalizations showed that there were 3.17 hospitalizations per 100,000 people over the past week - far from pandemic highs.
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach reiterated his belief on Wednesday that compulsory vaccination was the way to stem infections and protect against future variants.
He hoped to have a vaccine mandate - highly controversial in Germany - in place by April or May, he told broadcaster RTL. The idea would be to make sure those who are not yet vaccinated have time to get three jabs before a possible wave of infections arrives in autumn, he said.
The current Omicron wave is likely to peak in mid-February, he said.
The government’s vaccine mandate plans took a minor blow on Wednesday when the head of a national doctors’ association said his members would not vaccinate patients against their will.
It would risk ruining the trust between doctor and patient, said Andreas Gassen of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians.
The RKI has counted 8,186,850 coronavirus infections in Germany since the pandemic began. The true figure is likely much higher as many infections are not detected.
The number of people who have recovered from Covid-19 in Germany is now 7,098,400 and 116,081 deaths with or from Covid-19 have been recorded.
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