Germany faces 'national emergency' as the latest COVID wave has put hospitals in immense strain

The German Health Ministry, Jens Spahn has announced that a new wave of coronavirus infections has plunged the country into a national emergency. The head of Germany’s disease control agency said Friday that the country has entered into a “nationwide state of emergency” because of surging coronavirus infections

Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch Institute, said regular medical care cannot be guaranteed anymore in some parts of the country because hospitals and intensive care wards are overstretched.

"We need to turn the tide. There's really no time to lose," Wieler said, stressing the importance of vaccinations. "We need to close the vaccination gaps now."

“All of Germany is one big outbreak,” Wieler told reporters in Berlin. “This is a nationwide state of emergency. We need to pull the emergency brake.”

On Thursday, the lawmakers of the country approved a series of new measures to battle a record COVID 19 infections. The Health Minister is warning that soon some hospitals will be able to cope with general emergency care and the Army is preparing to fly patients abroad.

Germany recorded on Friday 52,970 daily new infections, a day after registering over 65,000 daily cases, a record since the start of the pandemic, with health officials warning that the number is likely to at least double in the coming days. In the past two weeks, the number of new coronavirus cases in Germany has jumped by more than 60%.

Neighboring Austria, which has also been hit by a surge in new cases, announced it would extend a nationwide lockdown to vaccinated people from Monday, and introduce compulsory vaccinations from February.

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