The country reported 1,129 deaths this morning alone, he said on Wednesday – the largest number of coronavirus deaths recorded in the country within 24 hours.
“We are experiencing a time of contrasts – between hope and confidence and great suffering. These infection and death numbers show how brutally this virus strikes,” the minister said.
The infection and death rates show that we are still very far from the normality we would like.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases, which reported more than 1,000 daily deaths from Covid-19 for the first time on Wednesday, also recorded 22,459 new coronavirus infections during a 24-hour period.
These numbers come despite Germany being in the middle of a second hard lockdown, with most stores, bars, clubs, and restaurants currently closed. The restrictions will remain in place until January 10.
Spahn doesn’t see how the country can now return to the situation it was in before the lockdown. “We must continue to reduce contacts significantly,” the minister said, adding that curbs in public places only make sense “if we also reduce contacts in the private area.”
Germany, along with other EU states, began its vaccination campaign after Christmas, having procured the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Spahn also urged “a quick and thorough examination” of the AstraZeneca coronavirus drug by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), while EU clearance of a vaccine from Moderna is expected in early January.
Klaus Cichutek, head of the Paul Ehrlich Institute, also confirmed that Berlin expects the EU to quickly approve the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca that was given clearance for use in Britain on Wednesday.
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