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Home Covid-19 Coronavirus live news: Germany reports record daily death toll; UK total deaths...

Coronavirus live news: Germany reports record daily death toll; UK total deaths exceed 88,000 | World news


#Kate #Connolly, #Berlin

#Germany’s #Robert #Koch #Institute, (RKI) the government’s disease control agency, medics and epidemiologists warned on #Wednesday that the coronavirus disease was in danger of spiralling out of control.

#Jens #Spahn, the health minister, urged #Germans to show patience, while #Lothar #Wieler, head of the RKI, said that the high death toll was most likely due to delayed reporting of statistics over the #Christmas holidays.

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#But he said the rate – 167 more than a week ago, which brings the overall death toll to over 32,000 – was still extremely high. The vast majority of deaths are not taking place in hospitals, but care homes, he said.

#More than a quarter or 5642 ICU beds in #Germany are occupied by coronavirus patients, 3,078 of whom are on ventilators. There are just over 4,700 unoccupied ICU beds, and almost 11,000 in reserve. #However, medical staff are already said to be working to capacity.




84 year old #Karin #Sievers is inoculated with a dose of the #Pfizer-BioNTech #Covid-19 vaccine by #Doctor #Dirk #Heinrich at the ‘Hospital zum #Heiligen #Geist’ retirement home in the northern #German city of #Hamburg on #Sunday. #Photograph: #Morris #Mac #Matzen/AP

#Around 78,000 #Germans had received a vaccination by #Wednesday lunchtime and #Spahn said the country was on track to have 1.3m doses of the #BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine by the end of the year as well as 1.5-2m doses of the #Moderna vaccine, which is expected to be approved in the EU next week, in the first quarter of 2021. The #Astra/Zeneca vaccine is still awaiting approval.

#Under pressure to explain bottlenecks and delays in #Germany’s vaccine programme, #Spahn warned that coronavirus vaccines were inevitably scarce throughout the world at the start of their roll out, but he expected a rapid increase as vaccine producers, such as #BioNTech – which is due to open a new factory in #February – upped production over the coming weeks.

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#Spahn said that #Matt #Hancock, the UK’s health minister, had told him in a phone call on #Wednesday morning he expected #Britain to have achieved herd immunity through its vaccination programme by the spring.

#Spahn said he had been bombarded with complaints from #Germans via letter and email over #Germany’s decision to “take a #European approach” to allow the #European #Union’s 27 members equal access to the vaccine. “People have said ‘this is a #German vaccine, why can’t we have it first?’,” he said referring to the #Mainz-based biotechnology company #BioNTech which developed the first approved vaccine.

#He defended his decision in #June, along with his counterparts in the #Netherlands, #France and #Italy, “to say it was not about each to his own, but all of us together”. #As a result, he said: “Last #Sunday, when vaccination began in #Germany, it also started in #Croatia, #Bulgaria, #Lithuania, and #Portugal … in contrast to when a new medicine usually comes on the market and it is available in #Germany immediately but can take years for it to be available in other countries. #We said we didn’t want this (with the vaccine).”




People walk through a deserted check-in hall at the airport in Munich

#People walk through a deserted check-in hall at the airport in #Munich on #Saturday. #Photograph: #Matthias #Schräder/AP

#Germany’s current lockdown, in which the closure of all but non-essential shops along with schools and nurseries has been ordered until 10 #January, is expected to be extended. A meeting of chancellor #Angela #Merkel and the leaders of #Germany’s 16 states on 5 #January is expected to decide on the terms of an extension.

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#Whilst the majority of #Germans appear to have stuck to advice to hold a low-key #Christmas, reducing their contacts and travel to a minimum, politicians have voiced concern over the new year celebrations, which are usually very public and rowdy, involving private firework displays on streets and squares. #Although firework sales have been banned and many public areas declared out of bounds, police chiefs have said they expect large crowds to gather. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence of pyrotechnics being purchased in neighbouring #Poland by #Germans.

“I’m really very concerned about celebrations due to take place at the new year. #This must be urgently prevented,” #Tobias #Hans, the leader of the state of #Saarland, told the broadcaster RTL.



[ source link ]
https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2020/dec/30/coronavirus-live-news-uk-approves-oxford-astrazeneca-vaccine-updates

##Coronavirus #live #news ##Germany #reports #record #daily #death #toll #total #deaths #exceed ##World #news

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