Germany crosses the 40,000 benchmark as the fatalities reach at 41,087 due to a surge in the coronavirus cases, says a tally by the Robert Koch Institute. The lockdown has also been extended in the country in a bid to curb the growing virus wave. According to the reports by AP, Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was “absolutely necessary” to maintain restrictions.
After a video conference with Germany’s 16 state governors, Merkel said, “We must reach a point where we can once again follow the chains of infection”. She added, “Otherwise, we will just go keep going back into a lockdown after a short relaxation”. The death toll in Germany has increased by 465 in a single day. Also, 16,946 new cases have been confirmed, taking the tally to 1,908,527.
As a part of a new move, authorities across Germany will allow people in areas with more than 200 new infections per 100,000 residents over seven days to travel only 15 kilometers. This will be only if they have a genuine reason. Merkel said, “In particular, day trips are not a good reason”. Merkel will meet up with the authorities again on January 25 to examine the situation and make a decision.
Also, it was discovered that the new variant that swept over the UK has been in Germany since November, German health officials announced. Scientists detected the new variant after they sequenced the type of B1.1.7 virus in a COVID-19 positive patient who died in November and had returned from the UK. A team at Hannover medical school (MHH) found after genome sequencing that the strain in deceased COVID patient matched the new variant that accounted for a large number of cases due to high contagion in the south of England, Ministry of Health of Lower Saxony said in a statement cited by a Guardian report.
A team of researchers at Berlin’s Charité hospital lead by Germany’s top virologist Christian Drosten concluded the result on December 28, saying, that the new variant has been existent in Germany since November. Germany, this week, had officially reported the first case of the new UK variant in a woman who was a London returnee. Te strain was also reported by Portugal, India, France, Jordan, and South Korea.