Germany recorded 75,961 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, its largest single-day jump since the pandemic began early last year.
The EU’s largest economy is battling a brutal fourth wave of the pandemic, as infections skyrocketed in cold weather months, while the country’s vaccination rate remained relatively low.
According to the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s disease control agency, nearly 730,000 individuals are still sick due to COVID-19, an alarming figure not seen in the previous three waves of the pandemic.
Health authorities confirmed 351 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the official death toll to 100,119.
Germany became the third country in the EU to pass the milestone of 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus.
The latest surge in coronavirus infections has led to a dramatic increase in hospitalizations and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, forcing many hospitals to postpone non-critical operations.
Many hospitals in the worst-hit coronavirus hotspots in eastern and southern regions have run out of beds in ICUs, and started transferring new patients to other cities and states.
There were 4,070 seriously ill coronavirus patients in ICUs across the country on Wednesday, with 2,124 of them on ventilators, according to the DIVI association for emergency medicine.
German authorities introduced tougher measures this week, especially for the unvaccinated.
Since Wednesday, many federal states are requiring passengers on public transport to be vaccinated, or have recovered or tested negative.
According to the “3G rule” in the workplace, employees now have to present a proof of vaccination, recovery from the virus or a negative test before coming to work.
Several federal states, including Brandenburg, Saxony and Bavaria, canceled Christmas markets and ordered bars and clubs to close in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
In most of the states the “2G rule” applies, and only those who are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 are allowed to enter indoor dining or cultural venues.