BERLIN, -- Germany's National Disease Control Center reported Wednesday a record number of coronavirus new cases. One of Germany's top virologists warned that a lockdown is necessary if vaccinations don't quickly accelerate.
The Robert Koch Institute registered 39,676 new cases, surpassing Friday's previous daily record of 37.120 cases. According to the institute, Germany has seen a rise in infection rates of 232.1 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven day.
Christian Drosten, head of virology at Berlin’s Charite Hospital, stated that there was a "real emergency situation" regarding the situation in many hospitals intensive care units throughout the country. "We must do something now."
Officials from the government have stated repeatedly that they don't intend to impose lockdowns, and instead appeal to residents to get vaccinated.
Germany currently has a temporary national government after a September federal election. Parties that will form the next government are expected to introduce legislation this week. This would allow an "epidemic condition of national scope" declaration to be made since March 2020 and give a new legal framework to institute coronavirus precautions.
The country follows the same rules as during previous pandemics. Many places limit access to indoor facilities and events to those who have been vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19, or have recently received negative results. The latter category is now exempt in certain areas. The rules are not always strictly enforced.
In recent days, several hospitals stated that they are working again at their limits. They have ICUs so full with COVID-19 patients that they can't admit any new patients.
According to official statistics, 67% of Germany’s 83 million population is fully vaccinated. Contrary to other European countries, Germany's government has refused to make mandatory vaccinations for all professional groups.
He stated, "We probably have to control infection activity once again through contact measures – not likely but definitely."
Drosten stated that 15 million people are in a difficult situation. He also said that COVID-19 could kill another 100,000 people if vaccines are not given quickly.
Official figures show that since the outbreak of the pandemic in Germany, 96,963 people died from COVID-19.
The Stiko, the country's permanent committee on vaccinations, issued a new recommendation Wednesday, advising that everyone under 30 receive only the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.
According to the Stiko, the recommendation was based upon recent studies showing that heart and chest inflammation was more common in Moderna vaccine recipients under 30 than in those who received the Pfizer BioNTech shot.
Side effects are rare and most people will recover quickly.