German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said the impact of COVID-19 in the country had reached a “critical” level after the number of infections rose to a record high this week.
“We are in a situation that I would like to describe as critical,” Lauterbach said at the weekly coronavirus press briefing in Berlin on Friday. “We have strongly rising case figures again. […] I keep reading that the omicron variant is a milder variant but that’s only true to a limited extent.”
Despite planning to further relax COVID-19 rules, Germany logged a record high number of coronavirus infections in 24 hours on Thursday, and a figure almost as high, 252,836 cases, on Friday. “The situation is objectively worse than the public mood,” the health minister said.
He said that some people’s belief in Germany, including politicians, that the pandemic was now over, was an “error of judgment.” “We can not be satisfied with a situation in which 250 people are dying every day and the prospect is that in a few weeks more people will die,” he said. Meanwhile,
China’s government has ordered a province of 24 million people into lockdown as it tries to contain a Covid-19 outbreak that has spread to multiple locations.
Authorities reported 1,437 new cases across the country, including 895 in Jilin province, which was put under lockdown measures. People living in the province have been banned from moving around, and anyone wanting to leave the province must apply for permission from the police. Restrictions were already in place in two cities, Jilin and Changchun.
The industrial province sent 7,000 reservists to help with the response, from keeping order and registering people at testing centres to using drones to carry out aerial spraying and disinfection, the state broadcaster CCTV reported.
On Sunday a government notice said all residential communities in Shenzhen, a city of 17.5 million people, were being placed under “closed management”, meaning they would be locked down. Every resident would undergo three rounds of testing, for which they were allowed to leave their homes, and all buses and subways were suspended.