BERLIN , Germany's coronavirus cases rose to a second consecutive high on Friday. The disease control center in Berlin said that unvaccinated persons now have a "very high" chance of getting infected.
According to the Robert Koch Institute, 37,120 new infections were reported in the country within the last 24 hours. This is a significant improvement on Thursday's 33,949, which was also higher than the 33,777 record set Dec. 18.
It is possible that the numbers were inflated by delayed reporting and testing following a Monday regional holiday in the worst-affected regions. However, the reports highlighted a steady increase in infections in recent weeks which has brought COVID-19 back to the forefront of German news. Germany's death toll climbed to 96,346 Friday with another 154 deaths.
According to Friday's statistics, the country's infection rate has now surpassed its peak in response to a surge in cases in spring. However, it is still below the worst-ever December showing. In the last seven days, there have been 169.9 cases per 100,000 people. This is an increase from the 139.2 reported cases a week ago.
The Robert Koch Institute released a weekly report late Thursday that stated that unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals now face a "very serious" health risk. This is a departure from its earlier assessment of them as at "high" risk. It added that the threat to fully vaccinated persons is moderate but increasing due to rising infection rates.
At Friday's close, federal and regional health officials discussed the responses at a two-day meeting in Bavaria.
Germany's Health Minister called to call for increased booster vaccinations, more frequent testing of people's status or mandatory nationwide testing of visitors and staff at nursing homes. State governments are responsible for the imposition and removal of restrictions in highly decentralized Germany.
German citizens who have not been vaccinated are being urged by authorities to get them vaccinated. They claim that hospital beds are under increasing pressure, especially in areas where vaccine rates are low.
Official data shows that approximately two-thirds (83 million) of Germany's population have completed their first round of vaccines. However, there are notable regional variations.