Germany reports 17,482 new COVID-19 infections

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Berlin [Germany], March 19 (ANI/Xinhua): Germany's reported daily COVID-19 infections continued to rise sharply on Friday as the country registered 17,482 new cases in one day, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said on Friday.

The increase in infections was "clearly exponential," RKI Vice President Lars Schaade said at a press conference, adding that the incidence rate was "gaining momentum."

The COVID-19 incidence rate per 100,000 citizens in Germany in the past seven days increased from 90 on Thursday to 95.6. The increase in the number of cases was largely due to the more infectious variant B.1.1.7 that was first detected in the UK.

"We are therefore, unfortunately, facing another difficult few weeks," said Schaade.

Minister of Health Jens Spahn said at the press conference that an "honest analysis" of the current situation would lead him to say that "there are not yet enough vaccines in Europe to stop the third wave through vaccination alone."

Even if vaccine deliveries by the European Union (EU) were accelerated, "it will still take several weeks before the risk groups are fully vaccinated," Spahn said. "Only then can we also talk about broader reopening."

As of Thursday, over 3.17 million Germans had been fully vaccinated, bringing the country's vaccination rate to 3.8 percent, according to the RKI.

The precautionary suspension of the use of AstraZeneca's vaccine in Germany was lifted on Thursday following the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) recommendation.

To date, almost 2.63 million COVID-19 infections have been officially registered in Germany since the outbreak of the pandemic. The death toll climbed to 74,358 on Friday, according to the RKI. (ANI/Xinhua)