German coronvirus cases and deaths rise most since start of pandemic

Authorities are discussing imposing much tighter nationwide restrictions. PHOTO: NYTIMES

BERLIN (BLOOMBERG) - Germany's daily coronavirus cases and deaths rose the most since the outbreak began, as the rapid spread of the disease is prompting authorities to consider a hard lockdown over the holiday season.

New coronavirus-related fatalities rose by 604 in the 24 hours through Friday (DEC 11) morning, while cases jumped by another 32,734, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Both numbers exceeded previous highs reached in recent weeks.

Infections and deaths have moved higher in the past few weeks despite a partial shutdown that closed bars, gyms and cinemas but allowed schools and other business to continue operating.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and several health officials warned in recent days that hospitals might become overburdened as they called for much tougher measures over the Christmas and New Year period.

Germany's current incidence rate is at a record of 156 infections per 100,000 people over the past seven days, more than three times the level that DR Merkel's government has determined to be manageable.

Around 83 per cent of all intensive care beds are occupied, and the number of severe Covid-19 patients has been at record levels for weeks.

Authorities are now discussing imposing much tighter nationwide restrictions to fight the renewed severity of the outbreak.

Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller told ZDF TV on Thursday evening that he expects a nationwide lockdown for three weeks starting from Dec 20, including shutting down most non-essential shops.

Some regions are already acting, with Berlin joining Bavaria and Saxony with stricter measures such as closing all non-essential shops and extending school breaks until Jan 10.

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