Frankfurt: A zoomed image shows the skyline in Frankfurt’s financial district during an extended lockdown on Thursday.—Reuters
Frankfurt: A zoomed image shows the skyline in Frankfurt’s financial district during an extended lockdown on Thursday.—Reuters

BERLIN: Germany has too many loopholes in its coronavirus lockdown rules, the head of the country’s disease control agency said as figures published on Thursday showed the highest number of daily deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The Robert Koch Institute said 1,244 deaths from Covid were confirmed in one day up to Thursday, taking the total number to 43,881. There were also 25,164 newly confirmed cases, putting Germany’s total known infections close to two million.

Lothar Wieler, president of the institute, said data indicated people in Germany were travelling more than during the first phase of the pandemic in spring, contributing to the spread. German authorities have imposed restrictions on social contacts, largely closed schools and limited travel for those in areas with high infection rates, but the rules aren’t uniformly enforced across the country’s 16 states. “To me, these measures we’re now taking aren’t a complete lockdown,” said Wieler. “There are still too many exceptions and they aren’t being strictly implemented.”

Officials are considering tougher restrictions to curb the continued rise in infections.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen over the past two weeks from 23.36 per 100,000 people on Dec 30 to 26.03 per 100,000 people on Jan 13.

Wieler pointed to the sharp spike in infections recently seen in Ireland as an example of how quickly the outbreak can escalate again if rules are relaxed, especially given the new seemingly more contagious variant of the virus circulating there and in neighboring Britain.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2021

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