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Germany has to pull "emergency brake" to control COVID-19 pandemic: minister

(Xinhua)    10:14, November 04, 2020

BERLIN, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Germany has to "pull the emergency brake" to keep the COVID-19 pandemic in the country under control, said Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn during a press conference on Tuesday.

"This virus is treacherous, it does not allow for easy answers," Spahn said during his first official press conference after being tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago. "Instead, we must constantly adapt our strategy to the situation."

New COVID-19 infections in Germany on Tuesday remained near record level and increased by 15,352 within one day to a total of 560,379, according to Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the federal government agency for disease control and prevention. The death toll increased by 131, bringing the toll to 10,661.

On Monday, Germany entered its second COVID-19 lockdown. The partial month-long lockdown during November includes far-reaching restrictions on daily life such as tougher contact measures and the closure of restaurants and bars.

For the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic, test capacities in Germany were fully utilized nationwide, the Association of Accredited Laboratories in Medicine (ALM) announced on Tuesday. Based on data from 162 laboratories across Germany, a total of 1.4 million polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests were conducted last week.

"The situation is serious," stressed Spahn. As the number of infections was rising exponentially, the number of those who need ventilators is rising "strongly, too strongly," he added.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Germany who required intensive care treatment rose to 2,243 on Monday, almost three times as much as two weeks ago, according to the latest daily situation report by the RKI.

During the press conference, RKI's Vice President Lars Schaade stressed that it was important to interrupt the exponential growth of COVID-19 infections in Germany. If the current trend continued unchecked, "then we would have registered 400,000 new infections by Christmas."

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries including Germany, France, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.

According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of Nov. 3, there were 202 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 47 of them were in clinical trials.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Bianji)

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