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German Covid infection rate soars as Slovakia reintroduces certain lockdown measures

The country has seen more than 201 cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days.

Updated Nov 8th 2021, 12:16 PM

GERMANY’S COVID-19 infection rate has climbed to its highest recorded level yet as what officials have termed a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” gathers pace.

The national disease control centre, the Robert Koch Institute, said the country has seen 201.1 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days. That was above the previous record of 197.6 from 22 December last year.

While it is still a lower rate than in several other European countries, the figure has set alarm bells ringing.

The seven-day infection rate has long ceased to be the only yardstick for Covid-19 policy in Germany, but officials say hospitals are filling up in badly affected areas.

The disease control centre said today that 15,513 new cases were reported over the past 24 hours – down from a record 37,120 on Friday, but figures are typically lower after the weekend.

Germany has struggled to find ways to pep up its slowing vaccination campaign. At least 67% of the population of 83 million is fully vaccinated, according to official figures, which authorities say is not enough.

Unlike some other European countries, it has balked at making vaccinations mandatory for any professional group.

As at many times during the pandemic, Germany has a patchwork of regional rules. Most places restrict access to many indoor facilities and events to people who have been vaccinated, have recovered or been tested — with the latter now being excluded in some areas. Enforcement of these rules is often lax.

Rules on whether schoolchildren must wear masks in class vary from state to state.

Free rapid tests for all were scrapped nearly a month ago in an effort to incentivise more people to get vaccinated.

There are now widespread calls for them to be reintroduced. And officials now advocate booster vaccinations for everyone who got their initial shots six months ago or more.

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Slovakia expanded strict coronavirus restrictions including hotel, bar and restaurant closures to almost a half of the country amid a record surge of infections.

The government is expected to discuss additional measures as the country’s health minister joined medical personnel who treat Covid-19 patients in urging Slovaks to get vaccinated.

“Only vaccination can take us through the pandemic,” health minister Vladimir Lengvarsky said.

The measures will affect 36 of the country’s 79 counties.

Indicative of how fast infections are spreading, only five counties had imposed the measures three weeks ago, and another five a week later.

On top of the hotel, bar and restaurant closures, people will be allowed to only buy takeout meals. 

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