Germany's health agency warns of new spike in COVID-19 infections

# 20 February 2021 06:37 (UTC +04:00)

Germany could see a new spike in coronavirus infections in the coming weeks, warned Lothar Wieler, president of the country's disease control agency Robert Koch Institute (RKI), at a press conference on Friday, APA reports citing DW.

"We may once again be at a turning point," Wieler said. "The downward trend of the last few weeks is apparently no longer continuing."

The RKI registered 9,113 new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period on Friday, which was still slightly below the previous week's level. To date, about 2.37 million COVID-19 infections have been officially registered in Germany since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Also in the 24 hours, 508 deaths related to the coronavirus were registered by the RKI, bringing the total COVID-19 death toll in Germany to 67,206.

The decline of new infections in many federal states was slowing down, but the "plateau is still too high," stressed Wieler. "We do not yet know for sure whether the alarming variants are already playing a role here."

According to a representative sample analysis conducted by the RKI, the share of variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected in Britain, already increased from less than six percent two weeks ago to more than 22 percent in Germany.

The B.1.1.7 virus variant is more contagious and probably more dangerous. "We have to be prepared that this will also make it more difficult to fight the pandemic," said Wieler.