The third wave of coronavirus in Germany could be the worst yet and 100,000 new infections daily are not out of the question, the head of the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases (RKI) said on Friday.
The number of new confirmed infections in Germany has jumped in recent weeks, spurred on by a more transmissible variant known as B117 and helping to relax some lockdown measures.
“There are clear signals that this wave will be worse than the first two waves,” RKI’s Lothar Wieler said, as he urged people to stay at home during Easter. “We have very difficult weeks ahead of us. ”
The RKI then issued COVID-19 travel warnings for various neighboring countries, including France, Austria, Denmark and the Czech Republic.
People arriving from these countries must now provide a negative test dating back less than 48 hours at the German border. They must then go into a 10-day quarantine, which can be shortened by a second negative test after 5 days.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said Germany was in the final stages of the “pandemic marathon”, but the country’s healthcare system could reach its limit in April.
On Friday, the number of new confirmed cases in Germany rose to 21,573, while the death toll rose by 183.
Spahn said the requirement for all air passengers entering Germany to provide a negative test would come into effect at midnight on Monday.
He called on local authorities to take a more flexible approach to immunization, for example by offering unused doses to anyone over the age of 70 on weekends and reducing stocks more quickly.
Frustration has increased with the slow rollout of vaccines. About 10% of Germans have received at least a first dose, but this is much less than the United States, Britain or Israel.