BERLIN (AA) - Coronavirus infections in Germany continued to rise, with health officials reporting 22,609 new cases and 251 deaths on Thursday.
Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Prof. Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), said the surge of new cases has stabilized in recent weeks, but the numbers were still high, putting a significant strain on the health system.
“The COVID-19 situation in Germany remains serious, very serious,” he said, and urged people to strictly comply with hygiene and physical distancing measures.
Despite a partial lockdown which began on Nov. 2, the seven-day average of new infections remained above 18,300.
Last Friday, the country reported 23,542 coronavirus cases, the highest daily number of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.
The sharp increase in new infections was threatening to overwhelm hospitals.
According to the DIVI association for emergency medicine, currently 3,561 coronavirus patients were receiving treatment in intensive care units (ICUs). 2,024 of them were on mechanical ventilators.
Germany has the fifth-highest tally of coronavirus infections in Europe, behind France, Spain, the UK, and Italy.
The national total now stands at 855,916 cases with at least 13,370 deaths.