BERLIN (AA) – German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has warned of a “massive” fifth wave of coronavirus in the country due to the omicron variant.
Speaking to reporters in Hanover, Lauterbach said studies in other countries showed that the omicron infections were doubling more quickly than the previous variants.
“In my opinion, we will not be able to prevent the omicron wave in our country, it will be a massive challenge for our hospitals and intensive care units, but also for the society as a whole,” he said.
Lauterbach, who is a trained epidemiologist, called on people to observe anti-coronavirus measures throughout the Christmas season and get tested frequently.
Germany’s fourth wave have started to stabilize this week after the government has imposed tougher restrictions, but the authorities are alarmed this time by the rapid spread of the omicron variant in the neighboring countries.
On Friday, the Robert Koch Institute reported 50,968 new coronavirus infections and 437 deaths.
The country recorded its highest daily number of coronavirus cases earlier this month with nearly 75,000 new infections and more than 500 deaths in a single day.