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German COVID-19 cases jump as state leaders seek federal backing

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By Reuters
German COVID-19 infections at highest since mid-May
German COVID-19 infections at highest since mid-May   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  

<div> <p><span class="caps">BERLIN</span> -A key measure of coronavirus infections in Germany rose sharply over the past week, figures showed on Friday, raising the prospect of tougher restrictions as winter approaches.</p> <p>The seven-day incidence rate of cases – which has been used to decide <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 curbs – jumped more than 26 points in a week, the Robert Koch Institute responsible for disease control said.</p> <p>The rise comes as the leaders of Germany’s 16 states jointly called on the federal government to give them a legal basis to work on measures against the pandemic, as a nationwide state of emergency is set to lapse on Nov. 25.</p> <p>The restrictions will automatically expire then unless extended by parliamentary vote. </p> <p>“We need a mechanism, a rule, a reliable legal basis to make basic measures possible,” said Armin Laschet, premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state.</p> <p>The number of new infections per 100,000 people over seven days stood at 95.1 compared with 68.7 reported a week ago, the institute said. A total of 19,572 new infections were reported on Friday, 8,054 more than the same time last Friday, it added.</p> <p>More than 1,500 <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 patients are in intensive care, up from about 1,400 a week ago, figures from the <span class="caps">DIVI</span> association for intensive and emergency medicine showed on Thursday.</p> <p>“The fourth wave has started now and is still gaining speed,” Christian Karagiannidis, the scientific head of <span class="caps">DIVI</span>, said on Twitter on Thursday.</p> <p>With the rising number of cases, Germany’s state premiers are unlikely to lift rules requiring social distancing, mask-wearing and proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test result to enter most indoor public spaces.</p> <p>The prospect of another lockdown is highly unpopular. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn promised in August that anyone who was vaccinated would not be subjected to such measures come autumn. </p> <p>Around 66% of German residents are fully vaccinated, compared with 63.3% of people across the European Union. Only about 1.5 million Germans have received a booster shot of <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 vaccine, compared with around 55 million who have had two shots.</p> </div>