Germany weathered earlier bouts of the pandemic better than many other European countries, but has seen a recent resurgence, with intensive care beds rapidly filling up
Germany announced record coronavirus fatalities and infections yesterday as the total death toll passed 100,000, with the nation's most severe virus wave worsening just as a new government prepares to replace Angela Merkel's coalition.
Germany weathered earlier bouts of the pandemic better than many other European countries, but has seen a recent resurgence, with intensive care beds rapidly filling up.
Europe's largest economy recorded 351 Covid fatalities in the past 24 hours, bringing the official death toll since the start of the pandemic to 100,119, in what Bild daily called a "grim milestone."
The weekly incidence rate also hit an all-time high of 419.7 new infections per 100,000 people, the Robert Koch Institute health agency said.
The escalating health crisis poses an immediate challenge to the new centre-left-led coalition government of Social Democrats, Greens and liberal Free Democrats set to take over from Merkel's cabinet next month.
The country has been stuck in political limbo since the September 26 general election, with the popular former scientist Merkel governing in a caretaker capacity.
The spike in Germany comes as Europe has re-emerged as the pandemic's epicentre, with the continent battling sluggish vaccine uptake in some nations, the highly contagious Delta variant, colder weather sending people indoors and the easing of restrictions.
The coronavirus has killed at least 5,196,413 and infected over 259 million people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019. Meanwhile, an AFP tally of official figures showed that over 1.5 million people have died from Covid-19 in Europe.
'Thousands dying daily'
Merkel's presumed successor Olaf Scholz began a presentation of his new government's policy roadmap on Wednesday by announcing new measures to tame the fourth wave.
These included forming a corona response task force based at his office and earmarking $1.12 billion in bonuses for overstretched health workers on the front lines.
Greens co-leader Annalena Baerbock told public broadcaster ARD the incoming coalition would take 10 days, until early December, to decide whether "the protective measures go far enough."
However, the new steps and nationwide restrictions announced last week to limit the unvaccinated from participating in public life have already been criticized as far too little and too late.
Worrying new variant
Scientists in South Africa detect a new Covid-19 variant with "a very high number of mutations," blaming it for an "exponential" surge in infections there.
EU approves Pfizer for kids
The Pfizer/BioNTech jab gets the green light for children aged five to 11 from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), with kids to be given a third of the normal dose.