Steps to open since the coronavirus lockdown, introduced early last week, must be reversed in the German city of Hamburg.
Mayor Peter Tschentscher said the return to a full lockdown would begin on Saturday, after the number of cases in the northern port city surpassed 100 per 100,000 residents.
The city – the second largest in Germany – ended the easing of the lockdown after three days with seven-day incidences of more than 100 cases per 100,000.
As of Friday, the incidence had risen to 108.6 cases. As of Saturday, the rules before March 8 apply again.
“I fear the situation will deteriorate further. We are in a strong third wave, ”Tschentscher said.
“We are dealing with a very contagious variant of the virus,” he warned. “We are acting earlier – something that we have found very good in previous waves. ”
Third wave of infections in Germany
The news came as German Health Minister Jens Spahn said rising infection rates across the country meant it might not be possible to ease restrictions in the coming weeks.
Brandenburg state, the region surrounding Berlin, also crossed the 100-case mark on Friday.
The more contagious COVID-19 strain B117 is believed to be behind the recent outbreak of cases across the country.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet with the country’s 16 heads of state on Monday to set new lockdown rules based on the latest developments.
At the same time, the German Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases warned that the number of cases was increasing at a “very clearly exponential rate”.
“The infection process is gaining momentum,” RKI vice president Lars Schaade said on Friday.
Germany behind on vaccinations
Hamburg’s state health minister on Friday welcomed the renewed authorization to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying nearly 23,000 vaccination appointments have been postponed, the state’s website said.
Some 164,775 people in the state had received at least one dose as of Friday, with 75,606 people fully vaccinated, according to the RKI.
The German government has been under constant pressure to speed up its vaccination campaign, especially as cases start to increase.