Germans should refrain from all non-essential travel, the head of the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases (RKI) said on Thursday, after the country detected cases of new variants of the coronavirus.
“We will have more variants … Therefore, do not travel,” said RKI President Lothar Wieler.
Germany has reported 16 cases of the variant coronavirus which was first detected in Britain, and four more cases of the variant in South Africa.
The RKI said it would not be the latest new variants of COVID-19, as a new variant has appeared in Brazil.
All infections of the new COVID-19 variants in Germany have been linked to travel, Wieler said.
Germany on Thursday reported a record 1,244 deaths and 25,164 new infections in 24 hours.
‘Under control’ at the end of 2021
The RKI urged people to follow the current lockdown rules in Germany, to control the spread of the coronavirus. The institution has also expressed support for further restrictions.
“At the end of the year, we will have this pandemic under control,” Wieler said, urging people to receive the vaccine.
Germany will have enough vaccines for all of its population by the end of 2021, according to the RKI.
The RKI has also encouraged people to work from home and maintain social distancing to reduce the peak of COVID-19 cases.
“Working from home now protects the health of all of us – for that we need even more responsible employers,” said Wieler.
Coronavirus patients currently occupy 85% of intensive care units, leading to congestion in hospitals in 10 of Germany’s 16 states, he added.
Germany has shut down non-essential businesses and institutions since November and until the end of January at the earliest.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to meet with senior officials and the 16 state prime ministers later in January to discuss the situation.
The country aims to reduce the number of daily COVID-19 infections to less than 50 cases in 100,000 per week, in order to follow the chains of infection. The current rate is 151.2 according to the RKI.
fb / sms (TBEN / dpa / Reuters)