German officials confirmed that daily COVID-19 cases surpassed 50,000 for the first time during the pandemic, coming weeks after a number of states have implemented “2G” rules that increased restrictions on individuals who haven’t been vaccinated.
Under the rules, which have been in effect since September, the states allow businesses like restaurants and bars to choose to exclude individuals who are not vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19. Hamburg, Hesse, Saxony-Anhalt, Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony, Lower Saxony, and Baden-Württemberg have opted-in, reported The Local.
But on Thursday, the country’s public health body, the Robert Koch Institute, showed that the total case numbers hit 4.89 million with 97,198 fatalities.
As a result, Chancellor-in-waiting Olaf Scholz told Parliament on Thursday that new measures are needed “to get through this winter … we must shelter our country from the winter.” Government spokesman Steffen Seibert was quoted by VOA News as saying that the virus is “spreading dramatically” and asserted that a “quick and unified response” was needed.
The WHO said in a weekly update that Europe leads the world in percentages of new virus deaths and cases. The number of deaths rose by 10 percent and the number of new cases rose by 7 percent, the body said.
Starting Monday, Berlin will block all unvaccinated individuals from entering restaurants, gyms, bars, and other businesses, EuroNews reported.
Bulgaria reported 334 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, the highest daily toll since the pandemic started. It requested oxygen devices, patient monitors, and hospital beds, VOA reported. The Eastern European nation last month implemented a “green pass” required to enter restaurants, gyms, and other locations.
The Slovak Health Ministry also reported that the daily increase of new COVID-19 infections hit 7,055 on Tuesday, setting a new record. In nearby Czech Republic, CCP virus infections jumped to levels close to record numbers earlier this year, according to EuroNews. Authorities in both Central European nations said they are considering additional measures to deal with the outbreak.
On Thursday, Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg confirmed the country is just days away from placing millions of people who aren’t fully vaccinated on lockdown. Daily infections hit a record high of about 11,398 on Wednesday, data shows.
“According to the incremental plan we actually have just days until we have to introduce the lockdown for unvaccinated people,” Schallenberg told a news conference.
Elsewhere, the Dutch government confirmed Thursday it is considering whether to impose Western Europe’s first partial lockdown since the summer. The country implemented a vaccine passport system earlier this year.
Ukraine’s Health Ministry on Thursday reported 27,377 new infections, about 500 more than the previous high tallied last week. Ukraine has faced protests against vaccination certificates for teachers and other public employees, as well as for passengers on airplanes, trains, and buses.
Hungary said 107 people died from COVID-19 between Wednesday and Thursday, the highest daily total since May 5. Authorities confirmed 6,268 new infections, roughly 2.5 times more than last Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.