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Germany: Health agency forecasts winter spike in COVID cases

The Robert Koch Institute has warned that after months of decreasing numbers, cases are now sharply on the rise again. The country's state leaders want the federal government to keep restrictions in place.

A young woman puts on a mask

Masks, as well as proof of vaccination or a negative test, are required for most indoor spaces in Germany

Germany's infectious disease organization, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), warned on Thursday that the country should expect to see another spike in COVID-19 cases for the rest of the fall and winter after months of declining numbers.

The RKI said that there were worrying increases in coronavirus cases in nursing homes, even among the vaccinated, as those who are elderly and have pre-existing conditions are still at greater risk to the disease. They issued a recommendation that large, un-masked gatherings continue to  be avoided at all costs, particularly indoors.

For the first time since the beginning of May, the seven-day incidence among people aged 90 and older rose above 50 last week. For the entire country, the seven-day incidence rate stood at 85.6 per 100,000 residents on Thursday, up from 80.4 on Wednesday and 67 a week ago.

Even as hospitalizations amongst the healthy and vaccinated remained relatively low, children who are too young to be vaccinated are increasingly coming down with COVID-19.

Watch video 01:19

Why is Germany seeing high COVID rates among children?

State leaders want more federal action on pandemic

The announcement came as Germany's sixteen state leaders were having their annual meeting, during which they called on the federal government to do more to prevent another diastrous wave of the virus.

Under a draft resolution set to be debated on Friday, the group requests that the government not let the COVID-related state of emergency expire in November, and maintain rules on masking and requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test or indooor activities.

On Monday, Health Minister Jens Spahn had said he would let the state of emergency expire on November 25, and leave it up to the individual states to decide which measures they want to enforce.

es/wd (AFP, dpa)

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