Germany’s coronavirus caseload swells amid political infighting

By Rachel Bossmeyer and Simone Humml, dpa

Germany has recorded 7,334 coronavirus infections in the last 24-hour period, a new record that comes against the backdrop of political infighting over how best to stem contagion.

The country’s Robert Koch Institute for disease control announced the new record on Friday, saying it had replaced the 6,638 new cases recorded on Thursday as the highest daily figure in Germany since the pandemic began.

The previous infection peak of around 6,300 daily cases was in late March, but it is likely there were significantly more cases at the time as testing capacity has been greatly expanded since then.

There are concerns about the rising number of patients suffering from Covid-19 and receiving intensive care treatment. On Thursday, 655 patients were in intensive care, with 329 on ventilation.

According to the RKI, at least 348,557 people in Germany have been infected with Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, while 9,734 have died, 24 more than the previous day.

The opposition has criticized Germany’s patchwork of measures to combat the virus, saying the rules are confusing and in some cases inappropriate.

One particularly controversial rule – which stipulates that people who live in high-risk areas cannot stay overnight in other parts of the country – has been overturned by a growing number of Germany’s 16 states.

Health Minister Jens Spahn responded to the controversy on Friday by saying the rule would likely be scrapped altogether.

Meanwhile, a decision by Berlin’s government to impose a night-time curfew to help contain a sharp rise in coronavirus cases was overturned by a court in the capital.

The rule banning alcohol sales and limiting outdoor gatherings to five people or two households after 11 pm, which came into effect in Berlin earlier this month, had drawn the ire of locals.

The leaders of three German states that border France – all of them classified as high-risk for coronavirus infections – put out a joint statement on Friday saying that any restriction on cross-border travel was not tenable.

Also on Friday, police confirmed that 1,127 officers had been placed in quarantine, and that 94 of them had tested positive for Covid-19.

A spokeswoman declined to say how the measures were affecting the police’s ability to perform their duties, which include enforcing hygiene measures at airports and train stations.

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