Germany is facing a deteriorating coronavirus situation as the country is hit hard by the third wave of the pandemic, a top health official said Friday, warning the worst is still in store.
“There are very clear signals that this third wave will be much harder,” Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases, said at a news conference in Berlin.
“Everything points to the fact that the situation will worsen in the coming weeks. Working people are especially affected. You can see a lot of infections in private households or daycare centers because the virus spreads wherever people are infected,” he added.
Wieler pointed out that with the UK variant, contact tracking is even more difficult.
Germany is fighting the third wave of the coronavirus, driven by an easing of restrictions in recent weeks just as a more transmissible variant has spread.
The number of patients in intensive care units has risen sharply, said Wieler.
“We can no longer prevent this wave, but we have to try to flatten it,” he added.
Wieler warned that if massive countermeasures were not taken immediately, the consequences would be severe.
The German government has faced massive criticism over its coronavirus policies after Chancellor Angela Merkel reversed plans for a strict lockdown over the Easter holidays between April 1-5.
The lockdown would have been Germany’s strictest yet, with most shops closed and gatherings limited.
Germans would have been urged to stay at home and reduce social contact during the five-day Easter break.
Health experts have repeatedly called for a stricter lockdown in Germany, including a night curfew.