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German coronavirus situation ‘very, very serious’: RKI

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Berlin:  The coronavirus situation in Germany remains “very, very serious” according the country’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control, which recorded high infection numbers on Sunday.

Within 24 hours, the RKI reported 17,855 new infections and 104 deaths. On Sundays figures tend to be slightly lower due to less testing on the weekend. But one week ago, the RKI reported 12,196 cases and 68 deaths, showing cases are rising.

The so-called incidence rate of infections per 100,000 people in seven days rose to 129.2 from 127 one week ago, the RKI said, DPA news agency reported.

According to data from 70 hospitals around the country, more and more young people were being hospitalised with respiratory infections and intensive care units were rapidly filling up.

With infection numbers high and the vaccine rollout in Germany achieving only limited coverage so far, the organisers of popular fairs and festivals have said that such large-scale events will not be able to take place until herd immunity is achieved.

“Working with rapid tests, when you have large crowds such as the Kranger fair, we won’t have that,” Albert Ritter, president of the German fairground people’s guild, told dpa.

Meanwhile, Labour Minister Hubertus Heil announced plans to introduce free rapid coronavirus tests in all workplaces.

“Everyone has to do their part, also the world of work. To protect those who cannot work from home, we need comprehensive tests in businesses,” Heil told newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

At present, only 61 per cent of businesses offer free coronavirus tests to their employees. The proposal, to be discussed by cabinet on Tuesday, would make it mandatory for employers to test their workers.

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