Covid horror in Germany as fourth wave in ‘full force’ after RECORD surge in cases today

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Germany’s incidence rate measuring new coronavirus infections per 100,000 people over last seven days soars to 201.1, a record since the pandemic has started.

The last highest was 197.6, on December 22, 2020.

Despite Germany having vaccinated 67 percent of its population, it is still experiencing a dramatic surge.

Europe is “back at the epicentre” of the pandemic, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) Europe director Dr Hans Kluge, and is the only place in the world where COVID is “still increasing”.

Infection rates across the region have risen by 6 percent in the past week alone, WHO bosses told a Geneva news conference.

This has also resulted in an increase in hospital admissions, which have more than doubled in a week, and virus-related deaths, which have increased by 12 percent, Dr Kluge added.

German health minister Jens Spahn announced on Friday booster vaccines will now be given to all adults six months after their second dose as a way of tackling the increase.

He said: “A fourth COVID wave is now with us in full force.,”

“We are at the start of a very difficult few weeks.”

Professor Andrew Preston, of the University of Bath’s biology and biochemistry department, said Europe’s surge could be down to both poor vaccination rates and a lack of COVID-19 restrictions.

Slovakia, for example, reported a new record number of daily cases – 6,805 – on Friday and has one of the lowest vaccine rates in the EU.

Mr Preston said: “Some Eastern European countries have very low vaccination rates and there you are seeing most of the cases in the unvaccinated.”

“But in Germany they had a record number of cases and that probably reflects a pattern of what happens when you unlock with high levels of virus circulating.”

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Dr Michael Ryan, of WHO’s health emergency programme, called on European governments to “close the gap” in their vaccine rollouts in response to the spike.

“There may be plenty of vaccine available, but uptake of vaccine has not been equal.”

WHO director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed the importance of maintaining some restrictions to reduce cases in Europe.

He said: “Vaccines alone will not end the pandemic.”

“Vaccines do not replace the need for public health measures [which] remain important in every country.”

Although some European countries have reintroduced social distancing and face masks in public spaces in recent weeks, Professor Preston says this is only a temporary solution.

“The question is how do we move forward in a world where, even in countries with high vaccination rates, you still see high levels of virus transmission?

“But because vaccines are not absolute in stopping people becoming infected, we need to decide what level of COVID-induced damage we are prepared to tolerate in order to return to ‘normal’.”

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