The seven-day incidence of new infections has almost halved over the past week, from 16.6 on Monday, June 14th, down to 8.6 today.
Of the federal states, the north-eastern state of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania reported the lowest incidence of two cases per 100,000 people, closely followed by Brandenburg, with three, and Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein with four.
Baden-Wurttemberg recorded the highest incidence of infections – 13 per 100,000 residents – while Hamburg and Saarland each recorded 12.
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Meanwhile, on the national level, 346 new cases of the virus and 10 new Covid-related deaths were reported in 24 hours.
Though the numbers are falling across Germany, and are the lowest they’ve been since early September last year, the Delta variant of Covid-19 is a growing concern for politicians.
According the latest figures from the Robert Koch Institute, the Delta variant – which originated in India – is now responsible for around six percent of cases in Germany.
However, since the Delta variant is known to be more infectious than previous variants of Covid-19, and since there is often a two-week lag in the recording of infections, the current figure could well be higher.
Speaking to the ARD programme “Report from Berlin” on Sunday night, German Health Minister Jens Spahn celebrated the drop in infections, but called for a balance between confidence and caution.
“We can now loosen up,” he said, adding that the country should be prepared for another spike in infections in a few months’ time.
“So: confidence for the summer, but also caution, especially towards autumn and winter.”
“Don’t oversleep the summer”
In light of the dangers posed by the oncoming summer, politicians from the opposition Left and Green Parties are calling for concrete measures to battle the spread of the new variant.
“The political failure that we had to experience last year due to missing air filters in schools, full buses and trains and far too little protection in the workplace must not be repeated,” said the group leader of the Left Party, Amira Mohamed Ali, in an interview with Welt.
“The federal government must finally learn from its mistakes and create the structures to enable a good autumn and winter.”
Green Party health expert Janosch Dahmen told the same newspaper that the country was now in a race between vaccinations and the new variants of Covid-19.
“The government cannot oversleep the summer and must start preparing for the autumn,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important to carry on wearing masks indoors and taking tests.”
As of Monday, 50.8 percent of the German population had had at least one dose of the vaccine, while just under a third (31.1 percent) were classed as fully vaccinated.
Though Germany is bracing for a potential fourth wave in the autumn, some health experts believe that, due to widespread vaccination, the number of patients in intensive care could remain stable.
Christian Karagiannidis, the president of the German Society for Internal Intensive Care Medicine and Emergency Medicine, told the regional paper Rheinische Post he thought the vaccinations could limit more severe courses of Covid-19.
“If the number of infections rises again in the autumn, we will have to look very closely at the new admissions to the intensive care units,” he said. “If the vulnerable groups are very well vaccinated by then, there could be much less severe courses even with higher incidences.”