1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Germany: Merkel urges COVID talks amid case surge

November 10, 2021

A "quick and unified response" is required, the government's spokesperson has said. The warning comes as hospitals in Bavaria struggle to cope with serious infections.

A patient lies in an intensive care bed in a hospital while being looked after by medical personnel wearing blue scrubs
Germany has seen another day of record coronavirus cases Image: Waltraud Grubitzsch/dpa/picture alliance

Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for an urgent meeting with Germany's state premiers as COVID-19 cases surged on Wednesday.

Germany's Robert Koch Institute (RKI) agency for infectious diseases on Wednesday reported an all-time pandemic high of 39,676 coronavirus cases recorded the previous day. This followed previous record caseloads last week.

The virus was "spreading dramatically," government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in Berlin, adding that a "quick and unified response" was required.

What does Merkel want to discuss?

Merkel, who will remain chancellor until the new government is formed, wants a conference of state premiers to discuss the country's coronavirus response.

One item on the agenda would be a joint effort to speed up booster vaccinations.

Health Minister Jens Spahn, who echoed Merkel's calls for a meeting, is hoping to discuss a uniform approach across states for entering public events and venues.

COVID cases reach record highs in Saxony

Coalition talks a hindrance to states summit?

Merkel has been in intensive discussions with ministers, the regional governments and the parties seeking to form Germany's next government.

It was not a matter of "whether a meeting will take place, but when," Seibert said, quoting Merkel.

But, so far, there has been no consensus among Germany's 16 states on when to hold such a meeting. Some states led by the SPD, soon to lead the national government too, have been slow to respond; this could be partly because the SPD, Greens and Free Democrats seek to publish their own plans for handling the next stage of the pandemic on Thursday.

"The virus takes no account of political processes or transitional periods," Seibert warned, with a new chancellor unlikely to take over for about a month even if everything goes as the negotiators currently hope.

What's the current state of the pandemic in Germany?

The number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week is now at 232.1. It has risen from 146.6 a week ago and 66.1 a month ago.

The number of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days was given by the RKI on Tuesday as 4.31, up from 3.93 on Monday. This has become another key metric tracking the pandemic, given that widespread vaccinations have lowered the chances of individual cases winding up needing medical care.

The southern German state of Bavaria on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in response to overfilling intensive care units. According to the state premier's office, the state of emergency enables greater coordination between emergency services, hospitals and authorities.

Boost in vaccinations also noted as caseload rises

Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday that more vaccine doses were administered on Tuesday than at any point since August.

Spahn posted on Twitter that about 312,000 doses were administered on Tuesday, and more than 3 million people have received a booster shot so far.

"The direction is right," Spahn wrote, "but it's not yet enough to break the momentum."

At least 67.3% of the population has now been fully vaccinated.

kmm/msh (dpa, epd)