Germany on Wednesday registered a new record of 1,129 coronavirus-related deaths in 24 hours according to the country’s infectious disease control body, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).
The RKI also recorded 22,459 new infections in the same period.
German virus-related fatalities last broke their previous record on December 23, when 962 deaths were reported along with 24,740 new infections.
The RKI put Wednesday’s alarming death toll chiefly down to a delay in reporting over the Christmas holiday period, during which time daily virus death tolls were relatively low.
“The most plausible explanation is that there are delayed reports of deaths,” said RKI boss Lothar Wieler.
Germany has tightened its restrictions in recent weeks in order to bring the number of coronavirus infections down.
Yet the increasing number of new cases and deaths is still putting pressure on the country’s health systems.
With a view to the death toll, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday that he did not see a possibility of ending the current lockdown.
“These figures prove just how brutally the virus is still pummelling us,” he said, adding that a return to normality was far off. “1,129 families will be mourning during New Year’s.”
Spahn also urged people to tone down their New Year’s celebrations to avoid contagion. “We need this to be the quietest New Year’s Germany will ever remember,” Spahn said.
Germany enacted sweeping closures and restrictions across the country in mid-December, tightening a partial lockdown initiated in early November that had failed to control the rising caseload.
The tougher lockdown is to stay in place until January 10 at the earliest, following an agreement between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the premiers of the country’s 16 states.
Meanwhile Spahn also appealed for patience with Germany’s slightly bumpy roll-out of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine against the coronavirus, calling the overall start of the campaign a “successful.”
The Health Ministry said BioNTech would deliver the next haul of vaccine doses on January 8, after several states complained about a possible delivery gap at the beginning of the year.
All 1.3 million doses that had been agreed for 2020 had been delivered, the ministry said.
Speaking to dpa on Wednesday, Berlin’s Senator for Health Dilek Kalayci said she called upon the national government to “organize the delivery in a more stable and speedy manner.”
A total of 78,109 initial doses of vaccine had been administered in Germany by Wednesday morning, the RKI said. Germany officially began its mass vaccination campaign on Sunday.
The RKI has counted 1.68 million coronavirus cases in Germany since the beginning of the pandemic, with 32,107 related deaths. The RKI put the number of those who had recovered at around 1.3 million.
Meanwhile, new figures showed Germany’s number of excess deaths were up 11 per cent in November compared with the average number of deaths for the same month in 2019.