Germany tops 5,000 daily new COVID-19 infections
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany has recorded more than 5,000 daily new coronavirus infections for the first time since April, giving fresh urgency to crisis talks about the pandemic between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 states' premiers in Berlin on Wednesday.
The number of confirmed cases increased by 5,132 to 334,585 on Tuesday, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed. The reported death toll rose by 43.
Most of Germany's states have agreed that residents of coronavirus risk areas in their states should not be allowed to stay in hotels in other parts of the country to curb the surge in cases. But opposition has grown in recent days, in particular as the autumn school holidays have started in many states.
Armin Laschet, the premier of North-Rhine Westphalia, hopes that state leaders will agree on a "pragmatic solution" in Berlin as it was most important to focus on fighting the virus, he told TV station ARD on Wednesday.
Regional solutions in response to local outbreaks have been Germany's strengths so far, Laschet said. But as the number of areas that exceed the critical case load of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over seven consecutive days is growing, "we need unified rules".
"The more clarity there is in the important things, the more one can differentiate locally when there are different occurrences," Laschet said.
The premier of Bavaria, Markus Soeder, also called for nationwide rules on Tuesday, warning that the next four weeks would be crucial for whether Germans could celebrate a relaxed Christmas.
Meanwhile the German government is preparing new support measures for companies that have been hit hard by the pandemic such as the hotel and catering sector, including an extension of bridge loan facilities by six months, according to a report by Funke Mediengruppe.