Germany reports another record COVID-19 incidence

FILE PHOTO: Patients suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are seen at the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the “Klinikum Darmstadt” clinic in Darmstadt, Germany, December 12, 2021. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany reported another record high seven-day incidence of the coronavirus on Wednesday even as the country prepares to ease restrictions.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) registered 262,593 new infections, a 22% jump compared to a week ago, bringing the total number of infections to nearly 17.7 million.

Infections have been rising again since the start of March after rules preventing unvaccinated people from accessing many indoor public spaces started to be eased.

The seven-day incidence rose to a new high of 1,607 infections per 100,000 people on Wednesday, up from 1,585 the day before.

Another 269 people died, bringing the total death toll to 126,142 people.

On Friday, parliament is set to adopt a slimmed-down law that will significantly reduce restrictions around Germany. The existing law expires on Saturday.

The government argues that even though cases are rising, there is no longer a major risk of overloading the health system due to vaccinations and the fact that the dominant Omicron variant often has milder symptoms.

Limited protective measures will still be possible in hotspots with high numbers of infections.

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