German authorities are anticipating another wave of COVID-19 cases as a result of omicron, though so far the delta variant remains dominant in the country and case numbers have drifted downward after spiking last month.
“Please avoid infections during the celebrations,” Lauterbach wrote. “Even the vaccinated should test themselves.”
According to the national disease control center, Germany had 3,198 COVID-19 cases attributed to omicron as of Wednesday, a 25% increase from the previous day. The disease control center said Thursday that of those people, 48 were hospitalized and one died.
German authorities are introducing new contact restrictions, while most regions are shutting nightclubs and putting other measures in place. In most cases, the curbs are set to take effect just after Christmas, though a few will go into force starting Friday.
In his televised Christmas message, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said it was up to individuals as well as authorities to act responsibly during the public health crisis.
“The state can’t put on a protective mask for us. It also can’t get vaccinated for us,” he said, according to a text released by his office ahead of the speech’s broadcast. “No, it comes down to us — to every one of us.”
Steinmeier thanked “the large, often silent majority in our country that has acted cautiously and responsibly for months.” He urged people to remember that “we are one country” after demonstrations against restrictions and a planned universal vaccine mandate flared up in Germany in recent weeks.
Follow AP’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic
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