The head of Germany’s disease control agency said on Friday that Germany had entered a “national state of emergency” due to a spike in coronavirus cases.
Lothar Wheeler, president of the Robert Koch Institute, said regular medical care can no longer be guaranteed in some parts of the country because hospitals and intensive care departments are overstretched.
The German Air Force confirmed a report in the daily Bild that it was ready to help transport patients to clinics with free beds.
“Every outbreak in Germany represents a major outbreak,” Wheeler told reporters in Berlin. “This is a national emergency. We need to pull the emergency brakes off.”
He called for additional urgent measures to be taken to counter the rise in COVID-19 cases, which exceeded 50,000 for the third consecutive day. The Robert Koch Institute also reported 201 more deaths, bringing the death toll to 98,739 since the start of the outbreak.
Wheeler’s comments came as parliament’s upper house on Friday approved new measures to control the outbreak proposed by the center-left coalition that emerged after the September 26 national elections. Measures include requirements to prove that people have been vaccinated, recently recovered from COVID-19, or tested negative for the virus in order to access community workplaces or public transportation.
Separately, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed with the governors of Germany’s 16 states to introduce a new threshold linked to the number of hospital admissions of Covid-19 patients per 100,000 people over a seven-day period. Some states are also considering mandatory vaccinations for certain occupational groups such as medical staff and nursing home staff.
Austria extends restrictions
Neighboring Austria, also hit by a surge in new cases, announced that it would extend the nationwide lockdown for vaccinated people from Monday, and introduce mandatory vaccinations from February.
Such measures are not currently being discussed in Germany, where the outgoing Merkel government and the tripartite coalition it hopes to replace are at odds over how to respond to the pandemic.
Germany’s current health minister, Jens Spahn, called on Friday for a “common national effort” to respond to the rising case numbers.
“In the short term, we will not be able to break the wave [of infections] He said at a joint news conference with Wheeler, who called on Germans to help reduce the spread of the virus by limiting their social contacts.
-From the Associated Press, last updated at 7 a.m. ET
What’s happening all over Canada
What is happening around the world
As of early Friday morning, more than 256.2 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker. The reported global death toll has reached more than 5.1 million.
In the Americas, Florida, has banned schools and businesses from ordering a COVID-19 vaccination and paved the way for a possible withdrawal from the federal agency aimed at protecting workplace safety.
Mexico reported 3,915 new cases and 356 additional deaths on Thursday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 3,854,994 and deaths to 2,91,929.
in a EuropeIn Russia, the Russian authorities reported a record number of deaths from the Corona virus for the third consecutive day. Russia’s coronavirus task force reported 1,254 deaths from the virus on Friday, up from the previous record of 1,251 cases recorded the day before. The task force also reported 37,156 new confirmed cases. New daily infections in recent weeks appear to have taken a downward trend but are still higher than during previous surges of the virus.
The Hungarian government said that Hungary recorded 11,289 new cases, its highest daily toll since the start of the pandemic.
in a Africa, South African health officials on Thursday reported 585 new cases of COVID-19 and 40 additional deaths.
In the Middle eastOn Thursday, Kuwait recorded 22 additional cases and one death.
In the Asia Pacific The Philippines’ Department of Tourism said the Philippines has approved a plan to soon allow entry to foreign tourists vaccinated against COVID-19, following moves by other Southeast Asian countries to ease travel restrictions.