“The situation…is still serious, very serious,” Lothar Wieler told a press conference.
The good news is, however, that the figures have “stabilised at a high level in the last weeks and are not rising any further”, he said. “But we do not know whether this is a trend reversal. We'll have to wait and see.”
It is possible that hospitals will soon reach their limits, said Wieler. It is therefore necessary to bring the number of cases back to a controllable level.
“The goal is to have as few new infections as possible,” said the RKI head, adding that at the moment Germany is seeing a plateau.
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“However, I am optimistic that the case numbers will decrease in the next few weeks, the plateau shows that the measures are working,” Wieler said. However, he warned that there is a two-week delay and the situation would have to be watched closely.
Wieler also pointed out that the numbers of severe infections and intensive care patients had increased. And he is concerned about more patients dying. He said “the number of deaths remains very high”.
On Thursday morning, the RKI reported 22,609 new infections in 24 hours. That's about 5,000 cases more than the day before.
The number of deaths due to Covid-19 rose by 251 in a day to 13,370. In total 855,916 cases of infection have been registered in Germany since the beginning of the pandemic. Around 562,700 people have recovered.
Looking ahead to Christmas and a vaccine
As far as Christmas is concerned, it is not yet possible to say exactly what the situation will be like in Germany.
However, Wieler encouraged people to do a 14-day quarantine before visiting family. “According to the current state of knowledge, this would be the period in which one would have to be in quarantine,” he said.
When asked what he thinks about the first results of vaccine research becoming available, Wieler replied: “I find that very positive. The data is extremely encouraging.”
He revealed he was surprised that the results had been made available so quickly. It's clear that the moment a vaccine is approved, the pandemic can be controlled much better, he said, adding that a vaccine would be “quite an outstanding weapon”.
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On the subject of introducing further measures, Wieler said he believed there was no reason to close schools and daycare centres in general. “We can manage it,” he said.