Omicron will soon rule Germany, an official says

BERLIN – The Omicron variant could prevail in Germany within one to three weeks, a senior official said on Wednesday, while the health minister urged vaccination centers to open during the Christmas holiday. born to maintain the country’s intensified campaign pace.

The European Union’s most populous country has seen about 540 confirmed cases and 1,848 suspected cases of COVID-19 infection with Omicron, said Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute. Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute.

But he notes that those cases are one to two weeks, because it takes time to report and sequence the cases.

“The trend is very clear,” says Wieler. “With a doubling time (for cases) of about three days, the new variant can be in one, two, three weeks at the latest that has accounted for the majority of infections in our country.”

Omicron has been the predominant form of coronavirus in England, Scotland and the United States. In Germany, a wave of infections caused by the still-dominant Delta variant is dwindling, but officials say case levels are still too high.

Germany’s federal and state governments on Tuesday agreed to introduce new restrictions on December 28, limiting private gatherings to 10 people, closing nightclubs and eliminating audience from major events.

Wieler had called for caution earlier. He said Christmas “should not be the spark that ignited the fire of Omicron” and urged Germans to meet as few people as possible. And he urged people to limit non-essential travel.

German officials say they are confident they will deliver on their pledge from last month to give 30 million shots of the vaccine by the end of the year and aim to have 30 million more by the end of January.

During the holiday season, “I am asking for immunization centers to be open, I am asking for facilities (doctors) to be used as vaccination centres,” said Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. “I think we have a unique opportunity here.”

Currently, the Moderna vaccine is the mainstay of the booster campaign, and Germany is also using the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine.

German officials hope that some hitherto reluctant to vaccinate will be persuaded to use the Novavax vaccine, which is produced using older and new technology approved by the European Medicines Agency.

Lauterbach said Germany has purchased 4 million doses of the drug and hopes to deploy them soon.

So far, 70.5% of Germany’s population of 83 million has been fully vaccinated for the first time, a number that officials – who have set a minimum target of 75% – are not satisfied.

Meanwhile, 33.6% received booster shots. That number is growing rapidly, with an average of 1.1 million injections per day administered over the past week, the fastest pace of the pandemic to date.


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