Germany’s COVID death toll passes 100,000 amid record infections

Nov 25, 2021: Germany has announced a record number of coronavirus deaths and infections as its total death toll has exceeded 100,000, as its most severe virus wave ever to break grips the nation. 

Europe’s largest economy recorded 351 deaths in the past 24 hours, according to figures from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), a public health agency, on Thursday. The total number is 100,119.

The weekly incidence rate also reached a record high of 419.7 new infections per 100,000 people. Germany has tolerated early outbreaks of pandemics better than many other European countries, but has seen a recent resurgence, in which intensive care beds are filling up faster.

The growing health crisis is an immediate challenge to the new coalition government, which is set to take over from Angela Merkel’s cabinet next month. The rise in Germany comes as Europe re-emerges as a center of pandemic, with the continent fighting slow vaccinations in some countries, highly contagious delta variant, cold weather moving people indoors, and easing restrictions.

Last week, more than 2.5 million cases and approximately 30,000 COVID-related deaths were recorded in Europe, making the region the region most affected by the virus, according to an AFP survey.

In a sign of the severity of the virus wave hitting Germany, the health sector had to reach out to hospitals elsewhere in the EU for help.

Germany announced tough sanctions last week, requiring people to prove they have been vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 or have recently tested negative to travel on public transport or work.

Many of the worst-affected areas have taken a step further, with major events such as Christmas markets canceled and unvaccinated people barred from bars, gyms and leisure facilities. The surge has sparked a heated debate over whether to follow Austria’s example and make vaccination mandatory for all citizens.

Incoming Chancellor Olaf Schulz has expressed support for mandatory vaccinations for healthcare personnel, saying his government “will do everything possible to bring our country safely to this point.”

Earlier this week, outgoing Chancellor Merkel, who is retiring from politics after four terms, summoned the new centre-left-led alliance’s top brass for pandemic talks.

Scholz said his new government would invest one billion euros ($1.1bn) in bonuses for healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic.

Germany’s COVID-19 crisis has in part been blamed on its relatively low vaccination rate of about 69 percent, compared with other Western European countries such as France, where it is 75 percent.

The country has urged all inoculated adults to get a booster to combat waning efficacy after six months.

The Robert Koch Institute has counted 5,573,756 coronavirus infections since the pandemic began. The true figure is thought to be much higher since many cases go undetected.

The number of recoveries from coronavirus overall in Germany has now reached 4,744,400.

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