Why Germany is in the middle of an aggressive fourth Covid wave

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Increased Covid case numbers are worrying German officials and raising concerns that the country’s intensive care units (ICU) could soon start to fill up. As we also approach the run-up to Christmas, Germany’s famed holiday markets might also be at risk of closing for a second year running. So, just why are German Covid rates starting to rise again?

What’s the situation currently in Germany?

Germany currently has the fifth highest number of Covid deaths, per 100,000 people, in Europe.

Yesterday, it recorded its highest number of new infections, since the pandemic began, with nearly 40,000 cases.

Within the next 10 days, infection rates are predicted to reach 100,000 per day.

Germany’s state Saxony has the highest seven-day infection rate, with 459 cases per 1,000 people. The national rate is 232.

One of Germany’s most senior virologists, Christian Drosten, has warned that a further 100,000 people will die from Covid if nothing is done to halt the latest wave of infections.

Hospital authorities are now also concerned that ICU units could be in danger of reaching capacity before Christmas.

Why are Covid cases rising in Germany?

Germany has struggled to see a high uptake of vaccines, since launching its vaccine programme in December last year.

Currently, just around 67 percent of Germans are fully vaccinated.

16 million Germans aged over 12 have also not yet been fully vaccinated.

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Germany’s Health Minister, Jens Spahn, has publicly blamed those people who have chosen not to take up the government’s offer of the vaccine for the rising number of infections.

Last weekend, thousands of German anti-vaxxers protested in East Germany, on the streets of Leipzig.

The protesters were venting their displeasure against rules recently brought into force in Saxony, which prevent unvaccinated people from entering a number of public areas.

The same rules are expected to be put into place in several more states.

What does this mean for Germany’s Christmas markets?

Tens of thousands of people are expected to travel over the Christmas period, raising fears that it will mean case numbers continue to grow.

However, German politicians are under growing pressure to allow Christmas markets to go ahead.

This is after tighter controls had previously been announced to prevent markets from closing for a second consecutive year.

Recently, though, authorities in the South and East of Germany have announced the cancellation of scheduled markets, due to growing case numbers.

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