Germany is facing a “very serious" rise in coronavirus cases, the head of the Robert Koch Institute disease control centre said Thursday, as the country reported a record 11,287 new infections.
It is still possible to bring the virus under control through “systematic compliance with restrictive measures", Lothar Wieler said. But “the overall situation has become very serious," he added.
Germany, like many European countries, has been facing a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases for several weeks. Thursday’s caseload far exceeds the previous record of 7,830 recorded last Friday, and is a steep jump from the 7,595 cases reported on Wednesday.
Faced with the rebound, authorities have toughened measures to curb the spread of the pandemic, such as banning large gatherings. Local restrictions have also been imposed — in Berlin, it is now compulsory to wear a mask on certain busy streets.
Wieler on Thursday blamed private gatherings, especially among young people, for the dramatic rise in cases. “The more people gather in private circles, the more the numbers will increase and the further the virus will spread," he said, noting that “the young are currently the most exposed to this virus".
Wieler urged people to observe the rules but cautioned that an “uncontrolled" spread could be unavoidable in some regions.
On Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel asked citizens to cut down on socialising, encouraging them to stay at home instead. “What winter will be, what our Christmas will be, will be decided in the days and weeks to come," she warned.
At least 392,049 people have been infected in Germany since the outbreak of the virus, with 9,905 deaths reported.