German Health Minister urges tighter Covid measures amid new wave

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Berlin, Oct 15 (IANS) Germany’s Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach called on the country’s federal states to reintroduce stricter requirements for wearing face masks as Covid-19 infection figures are rising amid the current autumn wave.

“The sooner you hit the brakes, the better it is,” Lauterbach said at a press conference on Friday.

Since the beginning of the month, German states have been authorised to set individual Covid-19 measures, reports Xinhua news agency.

There are only a few exceptions, such as a nationwide FFP2 mask mandate on long-distance trains.

It would make sense to “work with small restrictions now rather than reacting with very drastic ones late”, Lauterbach said.

Germany’s seven-day Covid-19 incidence rate increased to 760 infections per 100,000 inhabitants on Friday from around 578 one week earlier, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.

Lauterbach said he suspected a “considerable number of unreported cases”, making the actual number of infections three to four times higher.

Around 114,000 new cases were registered in Germany on Friday, 60,000 fewer than a week ago.

The “strong spread in recent weeks” was leading to more outbreaks in hospitals and nursing homes, the RKI said.

According to the German Intensive Care Availability Register (DIVI), the number of infected patients requiring treatment in intensive care units in the country increased to 1,683 on Friday (around 300 more than one week ago,) but was still well below the record figures seen in previous waves.

To counter the trend, Germany has launched a new vaccination advertising campaign.

Of the 69.4 million adults in Germany aged 18 or older, around 85 per cent are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Almost 73 per cent of them have received one booster vaccine and around 13 percent two booster shots, according to official figures.



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