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Coronavirus digest: Germany daily cases hit record levels

January 12, 2022

Germany has reported more than 80,000 daily cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic and has bought 5 million unused vaccine doses from Romania. DW has the latest.

 People queue in front of a coronavirus test and vaccination center in Berlin.
People queue in front of a coronavirus test and vaccination center in BerlinImage: Michael Sohn/AP Photo/picture alliance

The number of new coronavirus infections in Germany crossed the 80,000 mark for the first time on Wednesday.

Health authorities registered 80,430 cases in the last 24 hours, according to figures from the Robert Koch Institute.

The latest infection tally was up by more than 21,500 from a week before.

The seven-day incidence rate stood at 407.5 new infections per 100,000 people.

A total of 384 deaths were also recorded in the country within the last 24 hours.

German infectious disease expert Leif Erik Sander told DW last week that it was "difficult to say" whether new restrictions imposed in the country would curb a rise of infections due to the omicron variant of the virus.

"It's evident that the cases are rising," he said, adding that it is "important to take measures to bring infection numbers down."

"This is a new variant that spreads extremely rapidly and unfortunately also infects previously infected individuals and vaccinated individuals, at least those that have only had two shots of the vaccine," Sander said in regards to omicron. "It will be very, very important to very closely monitor the situation, especially in hospitals and other critical infrastructure."

Meanwhile, Germany has obtained an additional 5 million doses of BioNTech-Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine to bolster the country's booster campaign, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has confirmed.

The shots were purchased from Romania, which had obtained them through the European Union's vaccine procurement scheme but remained unused.

The doses will be available from January 24.

Here's a roundup of the latest developments on COVID-19 from around the world:


The World Health Organization warned on Tuesday that repeating booster shots of original COVID-19 vaccines was not a viable strategy for new variants.

The health body pushed for new shots that provide better protection from transmission.

"A vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable," a WHO vaccine advisory group said.

Meanwhile, Pfizer said Wednesday that its vaccine jointly produced with German firm BioNTech can be given along with its pneumonia vaccine. The company tested its pneumonia shot along with a third dose of COVID vaccine in a trial of 570 participants.

Pfizer said the two shots together caused strong safety and immune responses in people aged 65 and older. The company said its study intended to measure the safety of the two shots used together.


Hong Kong will soon feel the negative effects of stricter quarantine curbs on air crew, with cargo traffic and implicitly — the supply of goods into the city — set to plummet, Chief Executive Carrie Lam told legislators on Wednesday.

Lam said Hong Kong already had the toughest restrictions against imported infections and it was difficult to tighten them further.

The Chinese city of Tianjin has started a new round of mass testing on all its 14 million residents after 97 cases of the omicron variant were discovered in initial screenings that began Sunday. 

On Wednesday, residents were ordered to remain where they were until all test results were received, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Indonesia has opened its coronavirus booster campaign to the public as the country records rising infections driven by the omicron variant.

The free shots will be given to the elderly and at-risk residents as a priority but will be available to everyone who received their second dose six months previously. 

Indonesia starts COVID-19 booster campaign

South Korea on Wednesday greenlit the use of the Novavax COVID-19 jab and was gearing up to distribute the first of Pfizer’s antiviral oral drug, as the country turns to additional pharmaceutical tools amid the omicron threat. 

At least 21,000 of Pfizer's pills, called Paxlovid, will reach South Korea on Thursday, with an additional 10,000 more expected to arrive by the end of January, the health ministry said.

The pills will be used in treatments for more than 1,000 people per day from Friday, the ministry added. 

South Korea returns to virus restrictions

Unvaccinated people will not be allowed to use public transport in the Philippine capital of Manila, the transport department said on Wednesday. 

Individuals with medical conditions that prevent their full inoculation will be exempt after producing a medical certificate. 

Meanwhile, unvaccinated people who need to buy essential goods or access essential services may be allowed to ride public transport if they have a health pass from their community officials or other proof to justify travel, the department added.

In Japan, Tokyo and Osaka are expected to witness a spike in the coronavirus caseload to 4-month highs. 

Tokyo’s infections are likely to soar to 2,000 on Wednesday as the omicron variant gains foothold across the nation, the Fuji News Network reported.

In the western prefecture of Osaka there could be 1,700 new cases on Wednesday, Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura told the media, nearly three times higher from the day before.

Kyrgyzstan's Health Ministry on Wednesday confirmed the Central Asian nation’s first cases of the omicron variant.


The United States is nearing the "threshold" of living with the coronavirus, despite the spiking caseload and record-high hospitalizations, Chief Medical Advisor to the President Anthony Fauci has said.

"There's no way we're going to eradicate this" virus, he said in an address to the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Tuesday.

But "as omicron goes up and down," the country will hopefully enter a new phase "where there'll be enough protection in (the) community, enough drugs available so that when someone does get infected and is in a high risk group, it will be very easy to treat that person," Fauci added.

"When we get there, there's that transition, and we may be on the threshold of that right now," he said.

Fauci also underpinned that with the country reporting almost a million COVID-19 infections a day, over 1,200 daily deaths and some 150,000 people in hospital, "we're not at that point."

Mexico reached a record number of daily COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, with 33,626 new confirmed cases.

In Colombia, the waiting time for booster shots has been reduced to four months.

"Everyone aged 18 and over who has had both doses, or one dose in cases like Janssen, can now have their booster doses after four months instead of six," President Ivan Duque said in a video message on Tuesday.

He also added that people who have contracted the virus can get their jab 30 days after their isolation ends instead of six months after.


In Bulgaria, new cases were at a record high of 7,062 on Wednesday, spurred by omicron. 

The Balkan nation, which is the European Union’s least inoculated member state, saw the previous peak in October amid the delta outbreak. 

About 3,000 anti-vaccine demonstrators attempted to storm the Bulgarian parliament on Wednesday and clashed with police officers. This came as protesters against the country's health pass rallied in downtown Sofia.

Daily coronavirus cases in Austria reached a record of 18,427 on Wednesday, newspaper Kronen Zeitung said.

The rise comes amid a spread of the highly virulent omicron variant.

Germany's top civil and criminal court, the Federal Court of Justice, has ruled that commercial property tenants can be entitled to lower rents if they have been affected by a coronavirus lockdown.

The court said the reduction would not be at a single level for every business — with all the circumstances of individual cases to be taken into account.

The Institut Pasteur private foundation in France said Wednesday it predicts omicron cases will peak in mid-January, with a peak in hospitalizations later this month. France recorded a daily high of nearly 370,000 new cases on Tuesday, with President Emmanuel Macron vowing to limit public activities for the unvaccinated.


The government in Tunisia announced Wednesday it would enact new restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. These new measures include a ban on gatherings and a nightly curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The curfew begins on Thursday and will remain in place for at least two weeks.

Critics say the measures are intended to silence dissent towards President Kais Saied's government. The opposition Ennahda Movement said Wednesday it would hold a demonstration on Friday against Saied, defying the rules.

dvv, wd/sms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)