Germany's coronavirus situation remains ''very tense,'' the head of the country's infectious disease agency said Thursday, adding that infections are “rising and that is worrying.''
Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), told journalists “we need people to reduce contacts by more than 60%" or “other measures” will have to be considered.
He warned that after plateauing for a few weeks, infections could again spill over into exponential growth.
Worrying figures: Germany on Thursday reported a daily record of 23,769 new Covid-19 infections within the past 24 hours. It reported 440 coronavirus-related deaths, a day after hitting a record 590 daily fatalities.
Wieler said that some regions were containing the virus better than others, which showed that ''these measures are working” if implemented correctly.
The head of RKI's surveillance unit, Ute Rexroth, warned: ''It is very likely that we will see rising numbers of infections and deaths in the coming weeks."
''We are seeing double the amount of infection numbers in care homes than in spring this year," he added.
This comes a day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that rising infection numbers mean tougher measures are urgently needed.
In an unusually impassioned speech, Merkel asked the public to limit their social contact or risk losing more lives.
"If we have too many contacts now before Christmas, and that ends up making it the last Christmas with the grandparents, then we will have failed. We should not do that,” she told lawmakers in parliament.
Merkel warned that nationwide restrictions brought in on November 2 had not proven effective enough, with too many people dying of Covid-19 or admitted to intensive care.
She called for a full lockdown to be implemented for several days -- possibly for as long as two weeks -- after Christmas in order to bring down infection rates.