Covid-19 infections with the Omicron variant in Germany surged by 3,619 or 28 per cent within one day to a total of 16,748, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases has said.
More than 7,630 of the laboratory-confirmed Omicron cases in Germany were recorded in the 15-34 years’ age group, and around 5,590 cases were identified in the 35-59 years’ age group, according to the RKI on Thursday.
“The Omicron variant is increasing significantly, particularly in the north of the country,” Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach told broadcaster ARD, adding that high Omicron incidences in the two neighbouring countries Denmark and the Netherlands were likely driving this development, Xinhua news agency reported.
“We have a dynamic situation — that is quite a bit different from what we had a week ago,” stressed Lauterbach.
He expects the number of Omicron cases in the country to double within four to five days.
Total Covid-19 infections within one day fell slightly compared to last week to 42,770 cases, according to the RKI.
After declining from the fourth-wave peak in early December, the seven-day incidence rose slightly compared to Wednesday to 207.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
The RKI warned that fewer tests were carried out at work, in schools or in daycare centers and reports were delayed during the Christmas holidays in Germany, stressing that “this may result in an incomplete picture of the epidemiological situation.”
To slow the impending Omicron wave, the government implemented stricter Covid-19 rules during the turn of the year, including contact restrictions also for vaccinated and recovered people as well as a ban on assemblies and gatherings nationwide over New Year.
By next week at the latest, Lauterbach wants to present “good proposals” regarding further measures in the fight against Omicron, including updated quarantine regulations or contact restrictions.
“We have to prepare something like this correctly, because hasty action is wrong.”