German health minister sees possible tripling of coronavirus infections by mid-February

The number of people in intensive care in hospitals is expected to increase significantly over the coming weeks. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BERLIN (REUTERS) - Germany reported a record 140,160 new coronavirus cases on Friday (Jan 21) as the country's Health Minister warned the country could see at least 400,000 per day by mid-February.

That figure would be reached under an optimistic scenario in which booster shots provide very good protection, Mr Karl Lauterbach said in a discussion with state government leaders, sources involved in the talks told Reuters late on Thursday.

The number could climb to more than 600,000 daily new cases if the booster shots were less protective, he said, according to the sources.

Mr Lauterbach also said he expected the numbers in intensive care in hospitals to increase significantly over coming weeks.

More than 116,000 people have died in Germany in connection with the coronavirus. A week ago, Germany reported 92,223 new daily cases.

Around 73 per cent of Germany's population has basic immunisation against the coronavirus, and 49 per cent have a booster shot, according to the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.

Federal and state leaders in Germany will discuss on Monday measures to curb the massive increase in coronavirus cases.

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