In Germany, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported yet another record number of new Corona infections in 24 hours. There are 76,414 of them. At the same time, a new Coronavirus mutation which is spreading in South Africa seems to be posing a big danger.
Update 9:40 a.m. CET: Germany announces travel ban for individuals from South Africa due to new Coronavirus variant, starting tonight. German citizens and persons with residence permits are exempt, but they need to go into quarantine for 14 days, including fully vaccinated travelers.
Berlin, November 26th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — The Coronavirus pandemic was supposed to be under control this fall and winter, because of Germany’s vaccination campaign. It obviously is not. Yet again, a record number of Germans and residents of other nationalities in the Federal Republic, exactly 76,414 of them, got infected. Yesterday’s record number of 75,961 was surpassed by a few hundred. Last Friday, there were 52,970 new cases.
The number of Corona-related deaths remains high as well. In the past 24 hours, 357 COVID-19 patients died, while there are 4,202 Corona patients in ICUs all over Germany. The Hospitalization Incidence is now 5.97 and the Seven Day Incidence rose to 438.2. In some of Germany’s federal states, things look bad, especially in the south-east. Bavaria has an Incidence of 652.5. Saxony-Anhalt is more or less at the same level, but Thuringia reached 805.7. It gets worse: Saxony’s Incidence is 1,192.8. This means that more than one in 100 inhabitants of the state got infected with Corona in the past seven days. In comparison, Berlin’s Incidence of 357.0 almost looks harmless, which it is not.
Thirty-four German counties now have four-digit Incidences. One of them, ‘Erzgebirgskreis’ in Saxony, is above 2,000. Eight counties are in the 900s, sixteen in the 800s, twenty-one in the 700s, twenty-seven in the 600s and forty-three stand between 500 and 600. Germany has a total of 412 counties more than half of which have Incidences above 400.
Corona patients in intensive care now have to be moved to make room for new ones. This is the case in the states affected most, including Bavaria and Thuringia. According to the ‘Bild’ tabloid, Germany’s Air Force is supposed to use its flying intensive care unit, an Airbus A310 equipped for six ICU patients, to take some of them from Bavaria to North Rhine-Westphalia. The report says more patients might be flown out of Saxony soon. In parts of Germany, the health system obviously is overburdened already.
As if all of this was not dangerous enough, there are worries in regard to a new Coronavirus strain which is spreading in South Africa. This variant is known as B.1.1.529. According to preliminary data, it is spreading a lot faster than the Delta variant and other Corona mutants that have popped up during this crisis. Experts across the globe are alarmed.
‘Nothing is Worse’
In Berlin, Karl Lauterbach, the Social Democratic Party’s (SPD) health expert who might be Health Minister soon, said he hoped the alarming predictions about B.1.1.529 would not become reality. But if they were confirmed, there needed to be an immediate travel ban for people from South Africa. “Nothing is worse than a new variant that hits an ongoing wave”, Lauterbach said.
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