Dutch, German, S Korean virus cases spike

·2-min read

Daily confirmed coronavirus infections have hit new highs in Germany, the Netherlands and South Korea, health authorities say.

German authorities posted a new record in coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours on Thursday as the head of the disease control body warned that the country faced a "serious emergency".

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) put new infections at 65,371, surpassing the 60,000-mark for the first time.

The seven-day incidence was 336.9 per 100,000 of the population, up from 249.1 a week ago and just 74.4 a month ago.

"We are heading into a serious emergency. We will have an extremely unpleasant Christmas if we do not act to stop this," RKI president Lothar Wieler said during an online discussion with Michael Kretschmer, premier of the state of Saxony.

Saxony currently has the highest rate of infection in Germany with a seven-day incidence of 761.4 per 100,000.

The lower house of parliament backed by a considerable majority a package of measures to counter the pandemic put forward by the three parties currently attempting to put together a new governing coalition.

The measures, intended to replace emergency provisions that expire next week, must still go to the upper house where approval is far from certain.

The new regulations will expand measures for the workplace, public transport and care homes but rule out closing schools or businesses.

New coronavirus infections in the Netherlands also jumped to their highest level on record on Thursday as they topped 20,000 for the third day in a row.

About 23,600 new cases were registered, the country's health institute said, up from just under 21,000 a day before.

Meanwhile, the number of new coronavirus infections within 24 hours in South Korea rose to the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic.

On Wednesday, 3292 new cases were recorded, the second consecutive day that the figure exceeded 3000, the health authorities announced on Thursday.

The authorities have been struggling with an increase in infections since contact restrictions and distancing rules were relaxed in early November.

The number of intensive care beds with COVID-19 patients also increased.

On Wednesday, 506 critically ill patients were reported following a record high of 522 a day earlier.

More than 80 per cent of intensive care beds in hospitals in the capital Seoul are reportedly currently occupied.

The next stage of a "gradual return to normality" was previously planned to be implemented in December.

Health officials warned, however, that this target could be difficult.

South Korea has until now come through the pandemic well compared to other countries.

So far, 78.5 per cent of the population have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

with Reuters

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting