Germany’s disease control agency reported 52,826 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday as infection rates continue to climb.
he Robert Koch Institute said 294 more people had died of Covid-19 since the previous day, bringing the country’s pandemic death toll to 98,274.
German health minister Jens Spahn has called on doctors not to be too strict about waiting at least six months before giving patients their vaccine booster shots.
Infections have shot up in recent weeks, particularly among unvaccinated people, with southern and eastern Germany the hardest hit. The district of Meissen, near Dresden, reported almost 1,305 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past week.
Meanwhile, authorities in neighbouring Austria have said travellers will need to show a negative PCR test upon entering the country. Previously, results from the cheaper lateral flow tests were allowed.
The Alpine nation implemented a nationwide lockdown for unvaccinated people who had not recently had Covid-19 on Monday.
Elsewhere in Europe, the Czech Republic and Slovakia reported record daily numbers of new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, a day before the governments of the neighbouring nations plan to approve new restrictions in response to rising infections.
The Czech daily tally soared to 22,479 new cases, eclipsing the previous record set on January 7 by almost 5,000 and nearly 8,000 more than a week ago.
The country’s infection rate rose to 813 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, up from 558 a week earlier.
Czech prime minister Andrej Babis said the government was considering several options, including following neighbouring Austria in ordering a lockdown for unvaccinated residents.
Slovakia reported 8,342 new virus cases, surpassing the previous record of 7,244 set on Friday.
The Slovakian government is planning new restrictions on unvaccinated people as the country’s hospitals become overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients.
Slovakian prime minister Eduard Heger said his Cabinet would vote on Thursday on recommendations from an advisory group of medical experts.
And in Hungary, the number of daily Covid-19 deaths and new officially recorded cases on Wednesday climbed to highs not seen since a pandemic surge last spring.
Government figures showed 178 daily deaths and 10,265 new cases in the country of fewer than 10 million people. The latter figure approached record pandemic highs set in March, while daily deaths were the highest since May 1.
The numbers reflect a worsening pandemic situation in the Central European country, which in spring had the highest Covid-19 death rate per capita in the world.