Germany, India's capital note virus spikes

Milla Nissi
·3-min read

India's capital has registered a record number of coronavirus-linked deaths while government officials in Germany dampened hopes that a partial lockdown would be lifted at the end of November.

More than 52.77 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and 1,293,742 have died.

With COVID-19 beds in government-run hospitals nearly full in New Delhi, the local government decided to ask 33 of the capital's 115 private hospitals to reserve 80 per cent of intensive care beds for coronavirus patients.

India's totals have held steady recently but the virus is surging in the capital.

New Delhi recorded 104 deaths in the past 24 hours, the highest since mid-June and 7053 new infections on Friday.

The health ministry reported 44,879 new cases and 547 deaths across India.

The country has in total counted 8.7 million cases and 128,668 fatalities.

The surge in New Delhi has been attributed to people crowding shopping areas and ignoring social distancing norms during the festival season.

The key Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, is celebrated on Saturday.

Germany reported a new high of 23,542 new coronavirus infections within 24 hours on Friday, one and a half weeks into a limited shutdown.

"The increase in numbers has flattened but they are still rising," government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

The figures bring Germany's cumulative case count to 751,095, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control.

The number of deaths related to the virus rose by 218 to a total of 12,200 according to the RKI.

The last peak, of 23,399 cases, was reported on Saturday.

Due to the continuous rise in numbers, the government said it was not considering loosening restrictions at present.

"I can say for the federal government that, considering the state of things, no loosening of restrictions is to be expected on Monday," Seibert told the government press conference in Berlin.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet with the leaders of Germany's 16 states on Monday to discuss the ongoing restrictions, which include closures of museums and restaurants.

They came into force on November 2.

However, the RKI previously said it would take two to three weeks for the measures to show their effect due to the time period between infection, showing symptoms and getting tested.

Seibert said the government was aiming for the weekly infection rate per 100,000 people to sink below 50, which would allow health authorities to trace individual infections again.

In the last few days, the rate has hovered steadily above 130 infections per 100,000 people per week.

Meanwhile, Italy registered a record 40,902 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Friday, up from 37,978 on Thursday.

The ministry said there were 550 coronavirus-related deaths, down from 636 the day before.

Sweden, Austria and Russia also registered record high numbers of new COVID-19 cases on Friday.