Germany's new coronavirus deaths surpass 1,000 for the first time

Germany has recorded more than 1,69 million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (BLOOMBERG) - Germany's new coronavirus deaths surpassed 1,000 for the first time since the pandemic started, just days after the country started its vaccination campaign.

There were 1,122 new fatalities in the 24 hours through Wednesday (Dec 30) morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That exceeded the previous high of 986 recorded on Dec 23.

Germany joined its European Union partners in starting vaccinations on Sunday, but officials have said it will take months for the program to have a tangible impact on the spread of the disease. By Tuesday morning, the country inoculated 41,962 people according to the RKI public health institute.

Germany has recorded several hundred coronavirus-related deaths each day in the past few weeks, and the numbers of patients with Covid-19 in intensive care has risen steadily, prompting warnings that the healthcare system could become overburdened.

There were 5,649 coronavirus patients in intensive care on Wednesday, one of the highest numbers since the outbreak of the disease.

The rise in fatalities comes as Germany considers extending a hard shutdown that was imposed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's government in December. Schools and non-essential stores remain shuttered until Jan 10, but senior politicians have called to prolong at least some of the measures in recent days.

The country is still far from containing the pandemic, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Tuesday evening on ARD TV.

"Without doubt there will be restrictions" after Jan 10, he added.

Dr Merkel and the 16 regional state leaders will talk on Jan 5 to discuss how to proceed with the restrictions that were put in place shortly before Christmas.

Germany has recorded more than 1,69 million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic. In the 24 hours through Wednesday morning, the number of infections rose by another 19,466.

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