BERLIN, October 23 (Reuters) – Germany on Saturday recorded the highest incidence of coronavirus infections since mid-May, reaching the threshold of 100 cases per 100,000 in the past seven days that was once the benchmark for impose strict lockdown.
However, Health Minister Jens Spahn noted that Germany could cope much better now thanks to the vaccination, although he said restrictions such as wearing masks and indoor activity limits for unvaccinated people would stay until next spring.
The seven-day case incidence rate – which until August was used to decide whether or not to impose stricter COVID-19 restrictions – rose to 100 on Saturday from 95 on Friday, the Robert Koch Institute said. responsible for disease control.
A total of 15,145 new infections were reported on Saturday, 4,196 more than the same time last Saturday, he added, and 86 more people have died, bringing the total to 95,077.
The increase comes as leaders of Germany’s 16 states discuss how to proceed after the nationwide state of emergency ends on November 25, which means restrictions will automatically expire unless they are be extended by a parliamentary vote.
Spahn said on Saturday that it should be possible to lift the state of emergency while respecting rules requiring the wearing of a mask and proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test result to enter most public spaces interiors.
“We can obviously cope better with higher incidences, with a higher number of infections, much better without overloading the health system, because many are already vaccinated,” Spahn said in an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio.
“This path from a state of emergency to a state of particular prudence to a state of normality, probably in the spring, if there is no new variant, is, I think, also the one that gives confidence. “
However, he noted that parts of Germany with lower vaccination rates – such as Saxony and Thuringia – were already under pressure on hospitals due to the increase in infections.
About 66% of German residents are fully vaccinated, compared to 63.3% of European Union residents.
Reporting by Emma Thomasson Editing by Ros Russell
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