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Fourth wave of COVID-19 hitting Germany with 'full force', Merkel says

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By Euronews  with AP
FILE - German Chancellor Angela Merkel waits for the arrival of Denmark's Queen Margrethe II for meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany.
FILE - German Chancellor Angela Merkel waits for the arrival of Denmark's Queen Margrethe II for meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File

The fourth wave of COVID-19 is hitting Germany with "full force", Angela Merkel said when speaking to the association of German city leaders.

The German chancellor described the pandemic situation as "dramatic" as COVID-19 cases rise significantly.

"The fourth wave is hitting our country with full force", she added.

Germany's public health agency reported 52,826 new COVDI-19 infections as case rates continue to rise.

Another 294 people died in Germany of COVID-19, the Robert Koch Institute said. The country's pandemic death toll is now 98,274.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn has called on doctors not to be too strict about waiting at least six months before giving patients vaccine booster shots.

Meanwhile, authorities in neighbouring Austria said travellers would need to show a negative PCR test upon entering the country. Previously, results from the cheaper lateral flow tests were allowed.

Austria has implemented a nationwide lockdown for unvaccinated people.