GERMANY could soon see 100,000 new daily Covid infections with the third wave the country’s worst, a top disease official has warned.
The grim prediction comes amid Europe’s jabs fiasco with EU chief Ursula von der Leyan threatening to halt deliveries to the UK until AstraZeneca “catches up” on shipments to the continent.
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Frustration has grown over the sluggish vaccine roll-out in Germany and just 10 per cent of the population have received at least a first dose – far fewer than Britain, the United States or Israel.
The number of new confirmed infections in Germany has jumped in recent weeks, driven by a more transmissible variant known as B117 – or Kent variant – and easing of lockdown measures.
The Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases is now warning German’s third Covid wave could be its worse, with its head Lothar Wieler say of 100,000 deaths a day is on the cards.
“There are clear signals that this wave will be worse than the first two waves. We have some very difficult weeks ahead of us,” he said.
If Germans used the Easter period to further reduce contact, it would at least be possible to lessen the severity of a third wave, he pleaded.
“We can’t stop this wave anymore, but we must try to flatten it as strongly as possible,” Wieler said.
“Therefore, we have to reduce infections with all methods we have available.”
But not all German states have shown willingness to do that.
Authorities in Berlin refused to use the emergency brake agreed to by the 16 state governors while Chancellor Angela Merkel rowed back on Easter restriction measures.
Merkel has now told people not to go on holiday this year.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said Germany was in the final stages of the “pandemic marathon” but the country’s health system could reach its limit in April.
Spahn said a requirement for all airline passengers entering Germany to provide a negative test would come into force at midnight on Monday.
He called on local authorities to take a more flexible approach to vaccination, for example by offering unused doses to anyone aged over 70 at the weekend and by reducing stocks more quickly.
Von der Leyen’s bizarre move came hours after bloc leaders decided to take vaccine embargoes off the table and snubbed the Commission President’s bold bid to restrict shipments to Britain.
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The EU chief – backed by France, Spain, Italy, and Austria – begged them to issue a statement of support for the plan.
Instead the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany pushed back against it and added in wording emphasising the need to keep supply chains open.
Eurocrats had told EU capitals that Britain needs supplies from the bloc to provide millions of people with second doses.