German health official says the country will have the pandemic under control by the end of the year

General view of a vaccination center, temporarily installed in the Erika-Hess ice stadium to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Berlin, Germany, on January 14, 2021. Kay Nietfeld / Pool via REUTERS

BERLIN, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Germany will have the coronavirus pandemic under control by the end of the year, but a new, more contagious variant of the virus risks exacerbating the situation, the country’s public health official said on Thursday.

Germany has so far recorded 16 cases of people infected with the British variant of the virus and four with the South African variant, Lother Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Health Institute (RKI), told a news conference.

All cases of the new variants have been detected in people who traveled abroad, he added.

These will not be the last variations of the virus, he said, also referring to a new variant detected in Brazil.

“We will have more variations (…) Therefore, do not travel.”

Hospitals in 10 of Germany’s 16 states are facing collapse as 85% of the beds in their intensive care units were used for coronavirus patients, Wieler said.

In addition, he urged citizens to agree to get the vaccine against COVID-19 to relieve pressure on health centers and to respect social distancing measures.

“By the end of the year we will have this pandemic under control,” Wieler advanced, adding that then there will be enough vaccines available to inoculate the entire population.

On Thursday, the RKI reported 25,164 new coronavirus cases and 1,244 deaths, a record, bringing the total number of deaths to 43,881.

(Information by Kirsti Knolle and Thomas Escritt; written by Caroline Copley; translated by Jorge Martínez)


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