Tougher lockdown measures are being considered across Germany as the country's latest figures of COVID-19 cases and deaths reached yet new record highs on Friday.
The number of confirmed cases rose by 29,875 across the country's 16 states, the Robert Koch Institute said, beating by some 200 infections the previous record established just the day before.
The death toll has meanwhile risen to 20,970 after a one-day jump of 598 — eight fatalities more than the previous daily record set on Wednesday.
Germany responded to the second wave of the deadly pandemic by shutting hospitality businesses as well as leisure and sports facilities. Schools and non-essential shops have, however, remained open.
Health Minister Jens Spahn stressed on Friday that "the virus takes only limited account of whether or not we have all finished our Christmas shopping."
"That's why additional measures are undoubtedly needed uniformly throughout Germany, better sooner than later," he added.
Several states have already announced new restrictions on their own but a nationwide approach is being considered as some governors have described the situation as alarming.
One of them is Bavarian Minister-President Markus Soeder who called for the country to be "shut down" for the next few weeks.
"Some had always said between Christmas and New Year, but that is clearly too little, then it would have no effect at all," he argued.
"We are in a really dangerous situation, dangerous as never before," he said.
Germany's current 14-day incidence rate is 320 cases per 100,000 inhabitants — higher than in neighbouring France (230.3) where a second national lockdown is still ongoing.
It is level with the UK's — Europe's hardest-hit country — but much lower than in Luxembourg, Lithuania, Slovenia, Croatia, which all have incidence rates over 1,000 per 100,000 population, according to the latest figures from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.