SHARE
COPY LINK

HEALTH

Germany reports 6,638 new coronavirus cases – highest since start of pandemic

New cases of coronavirus infections in Germany have soared to 6,638 in the past 24 hours, official data showed Thursday, reaching a daily level not seen since the start of the pandemic.

Germany reports 6,638 new coronavirus cases - highest since start of pandemic
A coronavirus test being carried out in Dresden on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

The alarming jump in numbers came just hours after Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the leaders of Germany's 16 federal states to agree tougher restrictions designed to slow the spread of the contagion.

The highest number of new cases previously recorded in one day was 6,294, on March 28th, according to figures from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) disease control centre.

On Wednesday last week, RKI reported 4,059 of new infections. This was the first time since April that the 4,000 mark had been exceeded.

The number of coronavirus tests has fluctuated between around 1.1 million and 1.2 million per week since mid-August.

However, according to RKI data from Wednesday evening, the rate of positive tests has increased significantly: from 0.74 percent at the end of August to 2.48 percent in the week from October 5th to 11th.

READ ALSO: 'We must prevent uncontrolled Covid-19 increase' says Merkel as rules tightened

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday night announced new limits on people gathering at events as well as mandatory mask wearing in crowded places.

Under the new measures, if an area records more than 35 new infections per 100,000 people over seven days, masks will become mandatory in all places where people have close contact.

“We can see that … infection rates are rising and that we have a very high infection rate in some regions,” Merkel said.

“We must therefore prevent an uncontrolled or exponential increase.”

The number of people allowed to gather will also be limited to 25 in public and 15 in private spaces.

Once a threshold of 50 new infections per 100,000 is exceeded, even tougher restrictions will apply.

These include limiting private gatherings to 10 people or two households, and the closure of restaurants after 11:00 pm.

Even more curbs could be imposed if the upwards trajectory of new infections is maintained, Merkel warned.

“We will see if what we've done today is enough,” she said after Wednesday's decisions.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

COVID-19

Court turns down AfD-led challenge to Germany’s spending in pandemic

The German Constitutional Court rejected challenges Tuesday to Berlin's participation in the European Union's coronavirus recovery fund, but expressed some reservations about the massive package.

Court turns down AfD-led challenge to Germany's spending in pandemic

Germany last year ratified the €750-billion ($790-billion) fund, which offers loans and grants to EU countries hit hardest by the pandemic.

The court in Karlsruhe ruled on two challenges, one submitted by a former founder of the far-right AfD party, and the other by a businessman.

They argued the fund could ultimately lead to Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, having to take on the debts of other EU member states on a permanent basis.

But the Constitutional Court judges ruled the EU measure does not violate Germany’s Basic Law, which forbids the government from sharing other countries’ debts.

READ ALSO: Germany plans return to debt-limit rules in 2023

The judgement noted the government had stressed that the plan was “intended to be a one-time instrument in reaction to an unprecedented crisis”.

It also noted that the German parliament retains “sufficient influence in the decision-making process as to how the funds provided will be used”.

The judges, who ruled six to one against the challenges, did however express some reservations.

They questioned whether paying out such a large amount over the planned period – until 2026 – could really be considered “an exceptional measure” to fight the pandemic.

At least 37 percent of the funds are aimed at achieving climate targets, the judges said, noting it was hard to see a link between combating global warming and the pandemic.

READ ALSO: Germany to fast-track disputed €200 billion energy fund

They also warned against any permanent mechanism that could lead to EU members taking on joint liability over the long term.

Berenberg Bank economist Holger Schmieding said the ruling had “raised serious doubts whether the joint issuance to finance the fund is in line with” EU treaties.

“The German court — once again — emphasised German limits for EU fiscal integration,” he said.

The court had already thrown out a legal challenge, in April 2021, that had initially stopped Berlin from ratifying the financial package.

Along with French President Emmanuel Macron, then chancellor Angela Merkel sketched out the fund in 2020, which eventually was agreed by the EU’s 27 members in December.

The first funds were disbursed in summer 2021, with the most given to Italy and Spain, both hit hard by the pandemic.

SHOW COMMENTS