More than 100,000 people have died from Covid-19 in Germany since the pandemic began, a public health authority announced on Thursday.
EuropeThe largest economy is fighting a new upswing coronavirus cases and recorded 351 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 100,119, according to figures from the Robert Koch Institute.
When the infections reach record highs and the intensive care units fill up, the health crisis poses an immediate challenge for the new coalition government, which will take over from Angela Merkel’s cabinet.
Some hospitals are already facing an “acute congestion” that has made it necessary to transfer Covid patients abroad, says Gernot Marx, head of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine.
Germany last week announced tougher Covid curves, including requiring people to prove they have been vaccinated, cured or recently tested negative for the virus before they can travel by public transport or enter the workplace.
Several of the worst affected areas have gone further and ordered new closures.
The spike has sparked a heated debate in Germany on whether to follow Austria’s example and make vaccination compulsory for all citizens.
Acting Chancellor Olaf Scholz has expressed his support for mandatory jabs and said that his new government will invest one billion euros in bonuses for healthcare professionals on the front lines of the pandemic.
Germany’s fourth virus wave is partly to blame for its relatively low vaccination rate of around 69%, compared to other European countries such as France, where it is 75%.