BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on citizens to help ease the strain on nurses and doctors caring for the rising number of COVID-19 patients by respecting pandemic rules over Easter.
Germany’s disease control agency reported 24,300 newly confirmed cases in the past day, and 201 deaths. The head of the Robert Koch Institute has warned the country is seeing a third surge in infections fueled by more contagious virus variants that have come to dominate the outbreak in Germany.
Speaking in a video address, Merkel said this “needs to be a quiet Easter.”
Germany has recorded more than 2.8 million COVID-19 cases and 76,543 deaths since the start of the outbreak, fewer than most other large European countries.
But there’s been frustration about the slow pace of its vaccination program, with only about 11.6% of the population having received at least one shot.
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LONDON — The director of the World Health Organization’s Europe office says immunization campaigns against COVID-19 across the continent are “unacceptably slow” and jeopardizing efforts to stop the pandemic.
In a statement on Thursday, Dr. Hans Kluge says vaccines “present our best way out of this pandemic” but noted that to date, only 10% of Europe’s population has received one dose and that only 4% have been fully protected with two doses.
“As long as coverage remains low, we need to apply the same public health and social measures as we have in the past, to compensate for delayed schedules,” Kluge says. He warned European government against having “a false sense of security” for having started their immunization campaigns and noted Europe remains the second-most affected region in terms of new cases and deaths.
“The region’s situation is more worrying than we have seen in several months,” said WHO’s Dr. Dorit Nitzan, WHO Europe’s emergency manager. She warned people not to gather in large groups over the coming Easter weekend.
WARSAW, Poland – Poland reached a record 35,251 coronavirus cases on Thursday.
The Health Ministry says 621 more deaths were registered. The previous case record was 35,143 on Friday.
Hospitals in the southern Silesia region have run out of COVID-19 beds and patients are being directed to other regions. The situation is also difficult in the central region, including Warsaw.
The government has sped up the inoculation in the nation of 38 million and opened the registration of persons between age 40 to 60 on Thursday.
So far, almost 6.3 million vaccines — from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca — have been administered. More than 2 million are fully vaccinated.
In Poland, there’s been 2.4 million cases and nearly 54,000 confirmed deaths.
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