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Curfews maybe needed says Germany's Jens Spahn

April 9, 2021

The health minister is calling for stricter measures as Germany battles a third wave of the coronavirus. Jens Spahn said the current rate of infections is threatening the health system.

Jens Spahn
Spahn is calling for stricter nationwide measuresImage: Kay Nietfeld/dpa/picture alliance

Germany needs to implement stricter nationwide measures, including possible curfews, to break the third wave of coronavirus infections, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Friday.

"We need a lockdown," said Spahn at a news conference in Berlin, adding that nighttime curfews may be required.

He said there were nearly 4,500 patients currently in intensive care in Germany, adding: "If this continues, it will be too much for our health system."

Easter figures not a true reflection

Spahn also said that the infection figures over Easter may have been skewed. Health officials have suggested less people went to the doctor over the holiday period, giving the false impression that the number of cases in Germany was falling.

Meanwhile, coronavirus infections went up by 25,464 on Friday, which was 3,576 more than a week earlier, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.

RKI: 2-4 week lockdown required

RKI President Lothar Wieler believes a lockdown lasting two to four weeks is necessary in order to disrupt the third wave of infections.

Wieler said projections showed that mobility needed to be massively reduced in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

"Every day in which we don't act, we lose lives," he said alongside Spahn at the press conference.

Sputnik V on the horizon

Germany is currently negotiating with Russia over an advance procurement of its Sputnik V vaccine.

Spahn said Germany still needed the green light from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), but he is hopeful of a delivery within the next few months.

Virologist and expert of Molecular Oncology Prof. Lawrence S. Young told DW that European efforts to procure Sputnik V doses were "a good move" to speed up the vaccination drive.  

"I think the Sputnik V is as safe as any other vaccine," he said, adding that the published data on the jab concluded that its side effects were similar to other vaccines, including "slight ache in the arm, often a bit of a headache, perhaps some fever or chills." 

"But these are transient, very mild side effects," he assured.  

However, the technology behind developing the Russian jab was similar to that of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which could raise concerns over potential blood clots, the virologist said.  

"As we know from AstraZeneca, sometimes you only see these side effects when you start immunizing millions of people," Young added. 

The EMA recently found blood clots to be a "very rare" side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine but said its benefits still outweighed the risks.  

jsi/aw (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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